WASHINGTON — Despite the pinch on Western defense spending, Middle Eastern nations are continuing to invest in new weapons and capabilities, particularly combat and transport aircraft, missile defenses and cyber warfare technology.

And US defense companies see the diverse fleets operated by Middle Eastern air forces as a way to keep production lines open, particularly after major customers, like the Pentagon, complete purchases.

“They do play a big role in keeping things going,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for the Virginia-based Teal Group. “They tend to have very diverse fleets with multiple capabilities and multiple arms sources [and] they tend to pay for the latest and best.”