The United Arab Emirates has signed defence contracts worth $1.4bn, including one for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, the country’s military says.
The value of the deals was announced on the third day of the IDEX defence show in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The largest deal, worth $380m, was for 750 mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicles from Oshkosh Corp.
The UAE’s armed forces also agreed to buy an undisclosed number of unarmed Predator drones from privately-owned US firm General Atomics in a deal worth $197m.
“UAVs are significant for any armed forces in present times. There is a lot of demand for these,” Major General Obeid al-Ketbi told reporters on Monday at the largest arms exhibition in the Middle East, held in Abu Dhabi.
Bombs and maintenance
The UAE awarded the contract to purchase the drones to a local company, International Golden Group, which will buy them from the US firm.
The deal marks General Atomics’ first sale of an unarmed version of its Predator drones in the Middle East.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are among several countries, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, asking US officials to buy armed drones but which have been rebuffed.
The US says that it is committed to an international agreement designed to limit the spread of long-range precision weaponry, which restricts drone exports.
General Atomics’ export-variant Predator will have no “hard points” to attach missiles and would be deliberately engineered to make adding new weaponry impossible, the company said last year.
Separately, the UAE also signed a contract for the maintenance of military aircraft with local firm
AMMROC for $490.5m, Ketbi said.
He said the contracts also included a $117.2m deal with US manufacturer Raytheon for materials used in GBU12 and GBU58 bombs.
Tuesday’s agreements bring the total value of contracts signed so far at the biennial show to $2.76bn.