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A French company wins a major Middle East contract for battle tanks

IT HAS ROOM FOR THREE; AIR CONDITIONING; GOES from zero to 30 km/h in five seconds; has a maximum road speed of 75 km/h and an off-road limit of 50 km/h. And it's yours for only $5.4 million.

A sales pitch something like that persuaded the United Arab Emirates to order 390 of France's state-of-the-art AMX Leclerc battle tanks for an estimated $3.5 billion, beating out the American Abrams M1A2 and British Challenger 2. The deal, which also buys the U.A.E. 46 noncombat tanks and armored escort vehicles, represents a major victory for financially beset, state-owned Giat Industries and gives France...

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