Last Updated: Sun Dec 26, 2010 09:20 am (KSA) 06:20 am (GMT)

UAE largest arms buyer in the region: report

UAE has spent more than $67 bln between 2000 & 2007 on arms to gear up its indigenous defense
UAE has spent more than $67 bln between 2000 & 2007 on arms to gear up its indigenous defense

In its quest to create its own indigenous defense, the UAE has become the region’s largest buyer of conventional arms between 2005 and 2009, a UAE-based newspaper reported a research study on Sunday.

Including Iran and Iraq with the other GCC countries, the UAE accounts for 57 percent of all conventional arms purchases such as tanks, rockets and fighter jets, The National newspaper reported a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) study.

After the UAE, Saudi Arabia comes second at 10 percent, and Iran third at 9 percent.

UAE to stay as importer

 The UAE wants to be strong and robust. It is part of their defensive doctrine 
Dr. Theodore Karasik, the director of research and development at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis

While Bahrain and Qatar are U.S. military’s most significant bases in the Gulf, and had spend less to gear up their own defense, the UAE is however has sought to build “its own indigenous defensive capabilities,” the study said.

“The UAE wants to be strong and robust. It is part of their defensive doctrine," Dr. Theodore Karasik, the director of research and development at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA)in Dubai, told the newspaper.

According to Dan Darling, a Middle East defense analyst from Forecast International, the UAE’s purchases are aimed to consolidate UAE’s air defense, air capability and maritime near-shore protection.

SIPRI’s study also revealed that the UAE's plans include terminal high altitude area defense anti-ballistic missile systems from the U.S., more Chinook helicopters, and a further 60 combat aircraft from France or the U.S..

“The volume of arms imported by the UAE has increased significantly in the past decade and the country is likely to remain a major arms importer in the coming years,” the newspaper quoted the study.

Other non-US importers

UAE arms purchases include other countries than the U.S., to include Russia, Italy and France.

The Gulf state is set to take delivery of six French corvettes, and several Italian corvettes and a frigate, and up to 50 Pantsir-S1 air defense systems from Russia.

From the U.S., the UAE is buying four Patriot surface-to-air missile systems. The UAE is also set to purchase US-made 60 Black Hawk armed transport helicopters and six C-17 transport aircraft.

The UAE is also widely expected to purchase up to 48 jets for training and light attack, additional corvettes and frigates, and early warning aircraft, SIPRI said.

Period between 2000 and 2007, UAE's overall defense expenditure were estimated to total more than $67.3 billion, SIPRI said.

On March, SIPRI ranked the UAE in the fourth place worldwide for its total arms spending between 2005 and 2009.

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