By International Institute for Strategic Studies
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Extra info for The Military Balance 2007
The sensitivity of conducting weapons business with Caracas was illustrated when the French government revealed that it had vetoed the potential sale of three Scorpene submarines to Venezuela, apparently in response to US concerns that the acquisition would create a significant imbalance among the navies of the region. The Czech government may also face a similar dilemma if Aero Vodochody’s plan to offer L159 trainer aircraft to the Venezuelan air force results in a firm order. In its first major arms deal with China, the Venezuelan air force signed a deal for the acquisition of mobile air defence radars as part of a US$150m project to renew the entire national air surveillance system.
In one attack on 1 November 2006 at Tierradentro, FARC rebels killed 16 police officers in a frontal assault on a police station. During the last months of 2005 and the beginning of 2006, fighting between Colombian troops and FARC spilled over into Ecuador. The Ecuadorian authorities initially protested at the violation of its air space, deployed combat aircraft to the border and activated the country’s air defence system. However, on 18 April 2006 both countries agreed to reconvene and to update the procedures and measures initiated under the bilateral frontier commission, which was set up in 1994 as a confidence-building measure to manage border violations.
In its first major arms deal with China, the Venezuelan air force signed a deal for the acquisition of mobile air defence radars as part of a US$150m project to renew the entire national air surveillance system. Venezuela has traditionally used US-made radars for its air defence. In addition, it appears likely that China will supply a new national defence communications system to replace the current system acquired from the US, amid fears in Venezuela that the US is able to eavesdrop on its communications network.