Saab Story: No More Arms Sales to Venezuela
A BBC report notes that the Saab Group will no longer sell weapons to Venezuela as of October 1, 2006. This is being done in compliance with American restrictions on the transfer of weapons to Venezuela that contain components made in the US… and implicitly, by companies that wish to continue to sell to the US military. The US Marines are a significant customer for Saab’s M136/AT-4 anti-tank rockets, which it has also sold to Venezuela in the past. The Venezuelan government is said to have been surprised by the news.
The BBC reports that he Swedes have sold anti-aircraft missiles (the RBS-70), rocket launchers and anti-tank rifles to Venezuela in the past worth around $150 million, and notes that while no new orders had been placed, age and usage will require replacement of Venezuela’s stocks. Both roles could certainly be filled by roughly equivalent Russian weapons like the RPG-27 and AT-14 Kornet in the anti-tank role, and by the SA-18 in the anti-aircraft role; though in the latter role especially, vehicle-mounted options like the Tunguska M1, the Tor/SA-15 and Pantsyr S1/SA-19 systems are also possible.
July 27/09: Swedish government officials confirm that AT4 rockets found in FARC narco-terrorist bases during the Colombian Army’s November and December 2008 campaigns were originally sold to the Venezuelan government. Colombia Reports | The Local | Jane’s | Agence France Presse | Fox News.