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Sat, Mar 15, 2003

Martin Baker: No Sale On Ejector Seat Cartridges

Impasse Grounds Israeli F-4s

The Israeli Air Force has  begun grounding its McDonnell Douglas F-4 2000 Phantom fighters, because the UK won't export licences for the manufacture of cartridges in the Martin Baker emergency ejection seats. Sources in Israel report the Martin Baker Company is not only preventing sale of the vital cartridges from its plants in Britain - the company is also preventing delivery of these items from its plant in the USA.

Call The Lawyers

It's the latest development in an ongoing technology trade spat between the United Kingdom and Israel over the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. In addition to the ejection seat cartridges, Israeli manufacturers of Unmanned Air Vehicles are now trying to replace power plants originally supplied by the British UAV Engine company.

The ban is part of Britain's unofficial embargo on sales to Israel, "connected with Israel's actions in Gaza and in the West Bank."  The UK sanctions cover at least 140 UK-manufactured items, although the Foreign office denies there is an arms embargo against Israel.

On The Other Side...

On the other side of the Arab-Israeli conflict, British arms sales continue unabated to Jordan, which has signed a peace treaty with Israel. But one British newspaper reports many of the arms sold by Britain to Jordan end up in the hands of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Correspondent Dave Bender in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

FMI:  Israeli Air Force


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