Military


Emirati Army

Sheikh Zayed realized the importance of protecting the new federation with a strong Armyto deter any aggression as he said, "We are building an Army not with the purpose of aggression or fighting another country, not for eventual expansion, but merely for self defense". This approach is driven from the Holy Quran in this verse: "And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly". On another occasion of the unification of the separate defense powers of each Emirate into the unified Armed Forces Sheikh Zayed said, "The building of Armed Forces in any countryin an endeavor most cherished by its people. Under the pressure of urgent need, we were induced to mete our Armed forces into the UAE Army. This has been our hope from the very start because it meant oneness of decision, unity of hearts and mutual support among brethren having common bonds of kinship and neighborhood".

Despite the promises and pledges of 1976, true integration and unification of the UAE armed forces did not take place for many years. The UDF was seen by some, particularly the amir of Dubayy, as merely an extension of Abu Dhabi power. Individual amirs view their forces as symbols of sovereignty no matter the size or combat readiness of the units. The separate forces therefore continue as they had earlier, but they are called regional commands, only nominally part of the UDF. Shaykh Zayid ibn Sultan's attempt to install his eighteen-year-old son Shaykh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan as commander in chief in 1978 shook the fragile unity of the UDF. Although the appointment was rescinded, Dubayy's resolve strengthened to maintain the autonomy of the Central Military Command, its own regional military command. In 1997 the union was further strengthened when Dubai disbanded its armed forces and integrated them into the federal General Headquarters, which are based in Abu Dhabi. Nonetheless, a decade later, Dubai still maintained two Brigades of its own that are not integrated into union forces.

Union Defense Force
U/I Royal Guard Brigade
U/I Armored Brigade
U/I Armored Brigade
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
U/I Infantry Brigade
U/I Infantry Brigade
U/I Artillery Brigade
U/I Artillery Regiment
U/I Artillery Regiment
U/I Artillery Regiment
Dubai Troops
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
The army, which is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, is organized into one Royal Guard brigade, two armored brigades, three mechanized infantry brigades, two infantry brigades, and one artillery brigade (of three regiments). Dubai had two mechanized infantry brigades that were not integrated into union forces. In early 2010, the Presidential Guard (PG) was formed, though this appears not to be part of the regular Land Forces. The PG is comprised of Marines, Reconnaissance, Aviation, Special Forces/Amiri Guard and Mechanized Brigades. PG personnel conducted operations in Afghanistan (the only Arab personnel undertaking full-scale operations in the country).

In 2004 total active troops were estimated at 50,500 personnel: army, 44,000; navy, 2,500; and air force, 4,000. Estimates in 2005 raised the total to 59,000 personnel. In early 2007, total active troops were estimated at 65,500 personnel: army, 59,000; navy, 2,500; and air force, 4,000. The massive increase in the strength of the Army is a bit difficult to understand. Some sources suggest that the 59,000 number is authorized end strength, while the 44,000 number references troops actually on hand. Alternately, this may reflect a common confusion between the term "army" taken to be all armed forces versus the term "army" restricted to simply land forces.

By the early 1990s perhaps 30 percent of the armed services consist of foreigners / ex-pats, although other sources claim that the forces had a much higher proportion of non-UAE nationals. The UAE lacks a conscription system and is unlikely to adopt one. In the absence of conscription, service is voluntary for UAE citizents, of whom there are perhaps a million, with perhaps 5,000 men reaching militarily significant age annually. Several sources place the actual end-strength of the Land Forces at 44,000. To maintain this end-strength with only UAE nationals would require essentially the entire age cohort to enter military service upon reaching the 18 years of age require for voluntary military service, and remaining in service for about eight years. This is not plausible, but it does suggest that the contrary case is probably much closer to the truth, that there are in fact very few UAE nationals in the enlisted ranks.

Omanis are said by some sources to predominate in the enlisted ranks, but there are also many Pakistanis among the more than twenty nationalities represented. There are also said to be many Egyptians, Moroccans, Sudanese, and Baluch troops. Well into the 1980s, many mid-level officers were Britons under contract, as well as Pakistanis and Omanis. By 1991 the officer corps was composed almost exclusively of amirate nationals, according to the Department of State. It was announced in 1990 that all university students would undergo military training as a requirement for graduation. Although adopted as a reaction to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the UAE authorities reportedly are considering continuation of the requirement as a possible prelude to reservist training.

On 21 February 1993, UAE announced that would purchase 390 “tropicalized” Le Clerc tanks -- and 46 recoveryvehicles and logistic support. Le Clercs will have advanced thermal sights. Training for conversion to the LeClerc began in January 1995, and deliveries of tanks and ammunition will continue through 1999. Package willinclude Giat squadron-level command systems with regimental, command systems under development, and digitally sorted mapping systems within the tank.

France decided to suspend delivery of its "Le Clerc" main battle tank to the UAE in January 2001 because of a dispute over certain terms in the contract. The UAE ordered 390 tanks and 46 recovery vehicles from France's state-owned "Giat industries" in 1993 in a contract valued at the time at US$3.4 billion. But problems emerged concerning certain clauses of the contract that required constant updating of the tanks with the latest technology. The UAE was said to be dissatisfied with the updating and was demanding improvements to the tanks that remain to be delivered. The "Le Clerc" battle tank was already in service with the UAE army and participated in peace-keeping operations in Kosovo alongside the French contingent in the Balkans. Giat industry said in a statement that "there are, in effect, divergences in the interpretation of certain clauses" in the contract with the UAE.

Discussions with the UAE were continuing, but in the mean time the "procedures" for delivering the tanks "are being suspended". The French arms manufacturer was badly in need of the UAE contract as it faced a decline in orders and financial difficulties. Giat was also seeking to sell the "Le Clerc" battle tank to a number of other clients and had been in negotiations with Saudi Arabia for a number of years. The difficulties with the UAE "do not interfere with the ongoing negotiations with other countries interested by the le clerc tank, saudi arabia, greece and turkey," Giat said. The statement added that the tank itself had not been called into question by the UAE. But the suspension of deliveries to the UAE would have an impact on the performance of Giat for the year 2000, when revenues at the group were expected to fall below 4.0 billion francs compared with 5.7 billion francs in 1999.

The army's main equipment in the 1990s consisted of a combination of primarily French- and U.S.-made armored vehicles. The army is reported to be equipped with 469 main battle tanks, 76 light tanks, 113 reconnaissance vehicles (including the acquisition in 2004 of 24 French Panhard scout cars), 430 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 860 armored personnel carriers, 93 towed artillery, 181 self-propelled artillery, 72 multiple rocket launchers, 155 mortars, 6 Scud B (up to 20 missiles) surface-to-surface missiles, 305 antitank guided weapons, 262 recoilless launchers, 62 air defense guns, and 40 surface-to-air missiles. By 2007 the army’s main equipment consists of a combination of primarily French- and U.S.-made armored vehicles. The army is reported to be equipped with 469 main battle tanks, 76 light tanks, 113 reconnaissance vehicles, 430 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 860 armored personnel carriers, 93 towed artillery, 181 self-propelled artillery, 72 multiple rocket launchers, 155 mortars, 6 Scud B (up to 20 missiles) surface-to-surface missiles, 305 antitank guided weapons, 262 recoilless launchers, 62 air defense guns, and 40 surface-to-air missiles. The army’s armored capability has been enhanced as part of the UAE’s military modernization program. The capability of the newly formed Army Aviation Group was greatly enhanced by 2010 through a US$300 million helicopter upgrade project. The army's armored capability had been enhanced as part of the UAE's military modernization program. By 2012 the U.A.E.'s Land Forces were equipped with several hundred French LeClerc tanks and a similar number of Russian BMP-3 armored fighting vehicles.

In response to the UAE Government request for a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) package, valued at USD 650 million, U.S. Liaison Office (USLO) presented an LoA to the UAEG on July 1, 2007. The UAE had until September 1 to accept the offer. The HIMARS would afford the UAE a counter battery capability against a ballistic missile threat. The overall objective of our missile defense cooperation is to develop an interoperable, full-spectrum capability in order to provide protection against short range, lower tier and upper tier ballistic missile and air-breathing threats like enemy aircraft and cruise missiles.



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