Pentagon: $2bn sale of missiles to UAE will ‘contribute to US national security’

The US State Department has approved a $2 billion sale of missiles to the United Arab Emirates.

The Pentagon says the sale will “contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US” and won’t alter the “basic military balance in the region.”

The deal would include 60 Patriot PAC-3 missiles, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, as well as 100 GEM-T missiles made by Raytheon.

The Defense Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement that the sale is “consistent with US initiatives to provide key allies in the region with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with US forces and increase security.”

The agency noted that the proposed deal would also boost the UAE’s capability to meet “current and future aircraft and missile threats.”

“The UAE will use the capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense,” the statement said, adding that the UAE has fielded the Patriot system since 2009 and will have “no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles into its armed forces.”
The deal now has to be approved by Congress before it goes ahead.

Pentagon sale of missiles UAE US national security

The United States has been the largest arms supplier to the UAE, providing 63 percent of all major weaponry delivered to the Emirates since 2009, the Center for International Policy reported in January, citing statistics compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

According to a December 2016 report by the Congressional Research Service, the US was responsible for more than 70 percent of arms transfer agreements entered into by the UAE from 2008 to 2015.

In 2015–16, the UAE was also the first export destination for the THAAD systems, the most advanced US missile defense system available, SIPRI reported in February, adding that with a 33 percent share of total arms exports, the US was the top arms exporter in 2012–16.

The US delivered major weapons to at least 100 states in 2012–16, a significantly higher number of export destinations than any other supplier, SIPRI said, noting that Saudi Arabia proved to be the largest recipient, accounting for 13 percent of US arms exports.

“The flow of weapons to Saudi Arabia from the USA is likely to remain high due to deliveries of 154 F-15SA combat aircraft, which began in 2016. This is despite calls in the US Congress during 2016 for restrictions on arms supplies to Saudi Arabia in response to Saudi military operations in Yemen, many causing civilian casualties,” the report said.