Emirati Air Force & Defence Command Modernization
Since 1980s a combination of regional instability and high oil prices has resulted in an ambitious re-equipment and modernization of the UAE Air Force, with its scope being to reach a level of capability at highest NATO standards. Some of the US-Gulf state defense cooperation that had begun during the Clinton Administration but since languished as the U.S. focused on the post-September 11, 2001 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In a December 8, 2007 speech in Bahrain, Secretary Gates said the "Gulf Security Dialogue" has six key pillars including arms sales is to improve Gulf state missile defense capabilities, for example by sales of the upgraded Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3), as well as to improve border and maritime security equipment through of littoral combatships, radar systems, and communications gear. The initial sales, including PAC-3 related sales to UAE and Kuwait and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) to Saudi Arabia and UAE, were notified to Congress in December 2007 and January 2008. A sale to UAE of the very advanced Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) has also been notified.
On September 16, 1998, in support of a commercial sale of 80 F-16 Block 60 aircraft, the Department of Defense announced today the possible sale to the Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) of 491 AIM-120B Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 12 AMRAAM training missiles; 267 AIM-9M 1/2 SIDEWINDER missiles and 80 SIDEWINDER training missiles; 163 AGM-88 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) and four HARM training missiles; 1,163 AGM-65D/G MAVERICK missiles and 20 MAVERICK training missiles; 52 AGM-84 HARPOON missiles; 2,252 MK 82 and 1,231 MK 84 general purpose bombs; 1,700 MK 82 and 560 MK 84 air inflatable retard kits; 250 BLU-109 bombs; 605 GBU-10 and 462 GBU-12 PAVEWAY II laser guided bomb kits; 606 GBU-24 PAVEWAY III laser guided bomb kits; 1,820 CBU-87 combined effects munitions; 20 CBU-58 inert cluster bomb units; 44,312 BDU-33 training bombs; 44,148 MK 106 training bombs; 188,000 20mm and 161,650 20mm inert bullets; 115,000 self protection chaff; 55,000 self protection flares; logistics, technical and management services support; Government Furnished Equipment (gun system, Cartridge/Propellant Actuated Devices, delivery services); alternate mission equipment; personnel training (including support for U.S. operating location) and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $2 billion.
On Nov. 30, 2011 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 4,900 JDAM kits and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $304 million. The Government of the UAE has requested a possible sale of 4,900 JDAM kits which includes 304 GBU-54 Laser JDAM kits with 304 DSU-40 Laser Sensors, 3,000 GBU-38(V)1 JDAM kits, 1,000 GBU-31(V)1 JDAM kits, 600 GBU-31(V)3 JDAM kits, 3,300 BLU-111 500lb General Purpose Bombs, 1,000 BLU-117 2,000lb General Purpose Bombs, 600 BLU-109 2,000lb Hard Target Penetrator Bombs, and four BDU-50C inert bombs, fuzes, weapons integration, munitions trainers, personnel training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support, and other related elements of program support.
The Clinton Administration in 1995 loosened arms export controls. Part of the decision process contained in this policy considers, "the impact [on] U.S. industry and the defense-industrial base.” As a result of this policy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was granted their request to purchase 80 F-16 fighters packed with more advanced technology than those in the current U.S. inventory. Among major weapons systems sold by the United States in 2000 were 80 new production F-16 block 60 combat fighter aircraft to the United Arab Emirates through a licensed commercial agreement with a value of $6.432 billion. This agreement with the U.A.E. is the one of the largest combat aircraft sales ever made by the United States, and accounts for a substantial portion of the overall total of U.S. arms transfer agreements with the developing world in 2000.These aircraft have a range and avionics capability (among other things) that are superior to US F-16s. Controversy has surrounded the most advanced version of the F-16 since we announced its sale on 25 May 1999. Some people object to contributing to an arms race in a volatile area, while others oppose the sale of a superior weapon system overseas when the US Air Force itself cannot afford it. The F-16 Block 60 program is a showcase of cooperation; the UAE took delivery of the last of 79 F-16 aircraft, also known as the Desert Falcon, in October 2007, one having been lost in a mishap since the original purchase of 80 planes.
The UAE Air Force and Air defence has been operating MIRAGE 2000 for many years and has contracted with Dassault Aviation for the delivery of 30 new MIRAGE 2000-9 aircraft and for the modernisation of its existing fleet of 33 MIRAGE 2000 up to the latest-9 standard. The UAE will be the first 2000-9 operator following its $2-billion order for the aircraft. Delivery of the new 2000-9s was scheduled for late 2001.
In June 2008, the UAE said it was "seriously considering" the possibility that the Rafale could enter service in about 2013. By early 2010 it was reported that the United Arab Emirates and France were discussing the joint development of a more capable, new-generation Dassault Rafale strike fighter. The jets would replace the Mirage 2000-9s bought from France in 1998. The discussions had moved forward from buying the Rafale to co-developing the next-generation Rafale. The prospective new model would meet UAE requirements, and would be a big boost for the twin-engine fighter jet. Dassault Aviation had entered the Rafale in bidding for contracts in Brazil and India, and had offered it to Kuwait and Libya, but as of early 2011 failed to find foreign customers. The main upgrades for the UAE were an active electronically scanned array radar, frontal sector optronics and an electronic warfare suite, systems supplied by Thales, and a 9-ton-thrust M88 engine, up-rated from the 7.5-ton engine that powers the French Air Force and Navy Rafales.
One report suggested that Paris had agreed to buy back the Mirage 2000-9s for service with the French Air Force, putting its own Mirage 2000-5s on the secondhand market and retiring the Mirage 2000N nuclear strike variant. The consortium of French aerospace companies hoping to sell as many as 60 Rafale fighter jets to the UAE offered to set up facilities to make the aircraft in Abu Dhabi.
As of 2011 Dassault was still looking for customers to buy the Mirage 2000-9 aircraft that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) intended to replace with Rafales, Chief Executive Charles Edelstenne said March 19, 2009. A first delivery of the Rafale to the UAE would not be before 2012; and the UAE Air Force would probably need about three year's time to train aircrews on the new aircraft. "We have time to prospect," he said. DGA Chief Executive Laurent Collet-Billon said March 17, 2009 that the French Air Force would not be taking the Mirage 2000-9s from the UAE.
In September 2011, it was widely predicted that Rafale’s selection would be announced at the Dubai Airshow. But the UAE said in November 2011 that the offer for Rafales from France's Dassault Aviation was uncompetitive and opened up the tender to competition.
Qatar and Kuwait are considering buying French Rafale fighter jets, but are waiting to see whether the United Arab Emirates will make a purchase first. French defence minister Gerard Longuet said 09 January 2012 that "They are in effect interested but they won't know for sure until the first one jumps in." The UAE is in talks with France to buy 60 Rafales. Industry experts have estimated that Kuwait needs 18-22 new fighter jets and that Qatar needs 24.
The UAE was expected as of 2001 to upgrade its 20 BAE Systems Hawk Mk63 and 18 Hawk Mk102 trainers to a common standard as well as acquire new aircraft. Germany has offered to share development of an advanced trainer/light combat aircraft (LCA) with the UAE, focussing on the AT-2000 Mako, which could enter production in 2007 and be operational by 2010. Seeking to break into the lucrative Gulf market, the German sales push included an October 1999 offer of 30 ex-Luftwaffe Alpha Jets, a move that could thwart further Hawk sales.
The UAE needs trainers to prepare pilots for its advanced fighter jets, such as the Dassault Mirage and the F-16. The UAE needs to replace its ageing Hawk trainers from BAE Systems, which are due to be phased out by 2015. BAE's latest version of the Hawk was eliminated from the selection process in 2007, leaving only the Italian and Korean entries. The Golden Eagle reportedly costs between $13.5 million and $17m each, compared with the M-346 at between $12.5m and $13.5m. Alenia Aermacchi, part of the Finmeccanica group, was selected in February 2009 to provide 48 of its M-346 trainer to the UAE Air Force, edging out Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and its T-50 Golden Eagle. But after a year of negotiations, by March 2010 the two sides had not signed a contract, fuelling speculation that the deal was in jeopardy. This aircraft is the most Advanced/Lead-In Fighter Trainer optimised for the role and can be proposed in operational variants for both Air Defence and Ground Attack roles. The M-346 offers very high levels of performance and manoeuvrability for the best cost-effective solutions. Moreover, the MB-339 of Alenia Aermacchi are operated today by the UAE Air Force in the PAN version (National Aerobatic Team Al Fursan).
AEW Airborne Early Warning Aircraft
On 4 September 2002, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of refurbished/upgraded E-2C aircraft to the E-2C HAWKEYE 2000 as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $400 million. The Government of the United Arab Emirates requested a possible sale of 5 refurbished/upgraded E-2C aircraft to the E-2C HAWKEYE 2000, 5 AN/APS-145 radars, 5 OE-335/A antenna groups, 10 T56-A-425 engines, spare and repairs parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, technical data and publications, tactical software and software laboratory, system software development and installation, testing of new system modifications, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics services and other related elements of program support. This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates needs the E-2C aircraft to develop an effective air defense network for their naval forces and provide an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) surveillance and enhanced command, control, and communications capability. UAE will have no difficulty absorbing the E-2C aircraft into its armed forces.
A military version of the Airbus A330 passenger airliner, the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), is designed as both a transport and an air-to-air refuelling aircraft. Having ordered three MRTT planes in early 2008, the UAE will receive the first of them in December 2011.
Boeing said 06 January 2010 that it had won a contract from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for six C-17 military aircraft, making the UAE the second Middle Eastern nation to order the airlifter. UAE will take delivery of four C-17s in 2011 and two in 2012 in the deal, whose "fi nancial terms are not being disclosed," Boeing and the UAE said in a joint statement. The C-17 Globemaster III advanced airlifter can carry large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid across international distances to small "austere" airfi elds anywhere in the world, the company said.
Besides Israel and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the largest importers of defense articles and services in the Middle East. Both nations had been spending heavily on defense since the Gulf crises of the 1990s. The UAE is the fi rst and only Arab country in the Middle East to partner with the U.S. defense industry (Northrop Grumman) by investing $500 million to develop new, Active Electronically Scan Array (AESA) radar for F-16 fighters. Any future sales would provide royalty revenue for the kingdom.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress December 3, 2009 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of 16 Chinook helicopters, and communication equipment, as well as associated parts, equipment, training and logistical support for a complete package worth approximately $2.0 billion. The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested a possible sale of 16 CH-47F CHINOOK Helicopters, 38 T55-GA-714A Turbine engines, 20 AN/APX-118 Transponders, 20 AN/ARC-220 (RT-1749) Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS) with Electronic counter-countermeasures, 40 AN/ARC-231 (RT-1808A) Receiver/Transmitters, 18 AN/APR-39A(V)1 Radar Signal Detecting Sets with Mission Data Sets, flight and radar signal simulators, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, site survey, construction and facilities, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $2.0 billion.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a critical and key partner/ally, which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. The proposed sale will provide the United Arab Emirates the capability to transport equipment and troops in the region, as well as to support U.S. and NATO airlift requirements in Afghanistan. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in St. Louis, Missouri. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress 03 November 2010 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of 30 AH-64D Block II lot 10 APACHE helicopters, remanufactured to AH-64D Block III configuration and 30 AH-64D Block III APACHE helicopters, as well as associated parts, equipment, training and logistical support for a complete package worth approximately $5.0 billion. The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested a possible sale of 120 T700-GE-701D engines, 76 Modernized Target Acquisition andDesignation Sight / Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors, 70 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars withRadar Electronics Units, 70 AN/ALQ-144A(V)3 Infrared Jammers, 70 AN/APR-39A(V)4 RadarSignal Detecting Sets, 70 AN/ALQ-136(V)5 Radar Jammers, 70 AAR-57(V)3/5 Common Missile Warning Systems, 30mm automatic weapons, improved counter measure dispensers, communicationand support equipment, improved helmet display sight systems, trainer upgrades, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Governmentand contractor engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States byhelping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an importantforce for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. The UAE is deployed in support of U.S. regional operations, and plans to provide future deployment support. The UAE needs these helicopters to fulfill its strategic commitments for self defense, with coalition support, in the region. The helicopters will provide the UAE military more advanced targeting and engagement capabilities. The proposed sale will provide for the defense of vital installations and will provide close air support for military ground forces. The UAE, which currently has AH-64Ds in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these additional helicopters into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this weapon system will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractors will be The Boeing Company in Mesa, Arizona, and Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, Florida. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
On June 24, 2011 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Arab Emirates of five UH-60M BLACKHAWK VIP helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $217 million. The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested a possible sale of 5 UH-60M BLACKHAWK VIP helicopters, 12 T700-GE-701D engines (10 installed and 2 spares), 6 AN/APR-39A(V)4 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, 80 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Devices, 6 Star Safire III Forward Looking Infrared Radar Systems, 6 AAR-57(V)3 Common Missile Warning Systems, 6 AN/AVR-2B Laser Warning Sets, C406 Electronic Locator Transmitters, Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems and Weather Radars, Aviation Mission Planning Station, government furnished equipment, ferry support, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, ground support, communications equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, tools and test equipment, and other related elements of logistics support.
Missile Defense Interceptors
The UAE-US Bilateral Air Defense Initiative (BADI) proposes a combination of passive defense (Shared Early Warning), active defense (Patriot, HAWK, Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) and future upper tier systems like Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAAD)) and establishing a "Common Air Picture", LINK 11/16, along with CENTRIXS interoperability. There have been ongoing technical discussions on Shared Early Warning and Air and Missile defense. The UAE had identified a location at an elevation of 6,000 feet on the UAE's northern border that they would like the contractors to look at as a possible location for an early warning radar system.
The UAE's expression of interest in a specific US missile defense platform that would be interoperable with other US systems would be the largest Patriot program outside Japan, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. It could be integrated with the programs in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to obtain a shared Common Air Picture. Previously, potential Patriot emplacement locations in the UAE were focused against the Iraqi threat. The surveys, completed April 19, 2006, identified six new Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) emplacement locations to deter the Iranian missile threat. They would protect much of the key strategic nodes and metropolitan areas of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah from an Iranian threat axis, including key nodes such as Al Dhafra Air Base, Al Bateen Air Base, Minhad Air Base, Fujairah Airport, Jebel Ali Port, and Fujairah Port. The assessments were based on a critical asset list provided to USCENTCOM by the UAEG. The locations were selected to defend against a threat from an Iranian missile attack axis and to protect portions of the metropolitan areas of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Fujairah.
On December 4, 2007 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 Missile System as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $9 billion. The Government of United Arab Emirates has requested a possible sale of the PATRIOT Air Defense System consisting of 288 PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles, 216 Guidance Enhanced Missiles-T (GEM-T), 9 PATRIOT Fire Units that includes 10 phased array radar sets, 10 Engagement Control Stations on trailers, 37 Launching Stations (4 per fire unit), 8 Antenna Mast Groups (AMG) on trailers, 8 Antenna Mast Group (AMG) Antennas for Tower Mounts, AN/GRC-245 Radios, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS, Export), Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Low Volume Terminals, generators, electrical power units, trailers, communication and support equipment, publications, spare and repair parts, repair and return, United States Government and contractor technical assistance and other related elements of logistics support.
On September 9, 2008 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 Missile Systems as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $121 million. The Government of the United Arab Emirates requested a possible sale of 4 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Intercept Aerial Missiles with containers, 19 MIM-104D Guided Enhanced Missiles-T with containers (GEM-T), 5 Anti-Tactical Missiles, and 5 PATRIOT Digital Missiles. These missiles are for lot validation and testing of the PAC-3 missiles notified for sale in Transmittal Number 08-17. Also included: AN/GRC-245 Radios, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS Export), power generation equipment, electric power plant, trailers, communication and support equipment, publications, spare and repair parts, repair and return, United States Government and contractor technical assistance and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $121 million.
22 February 2009 the Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces (COS), LTG Hamid Thani al Rumaithy, made an official request of the US government to deploy between four and five Patriot batteries to the UAE during calendar year 2009. He requested these batteries remain in place until such time as they can be replaced by the UAE's own nine batteries, currently on order. The UAE would place three of the US batteries in and around Abu Dhabi, one battery at the port of Jebel Ali, and a final battery somewhere else in the northern emirates (presumably Dubai). Following an Israeli attack, the UAE is convinced Iran will lash out against those who "help Israel," or the allies of Israel's friends, most significantly the UAE. The COS noted the UAE has the Patriot system on order and expected to take delivery in 2012.
On Nov. 2, 2012 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 48 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.135 billion. The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested a possible sale of 48 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles, 9 THAAD launchers; test components, repair and return, support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related logistics support.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel traveled to Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates in late April. Subsequently, May 9, 2013, he offered an audience his views on the issues he discussed with those countries’ leaders. Agreements finalized during his stops in Saudi Arabia and UAE will give those nations “access to significant new capabilities,” Hagel noted. He stated that the UAE planned to purchase 25 F-16 Desert Falcons. The deal is worth $4- to $5 billion, according to a senior Pentagon official who briefed reporters. . The UAE, together with Saudi Arabia, will also be receiving unspecified “advanced standoff weapons” for its fighters, added the same official. The sale had not yet been formally notified to the U.S. Congress. The Block 60 F-16, also known as the Desert Falcon, was developed specifically for the UAE, which received 80 of the jets between 2005 and 2010.
UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Hazza’ Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was said to be preparing a deal for the Eurofighter Typhoon with the F-16 procurement program having reached its final phase by getting US approval for 26 more F-16 Block 60 Desert Falcon.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|