The United States and the UAE are working collectively towards the common goal of a stable, secure, and prosperous Middle East. The UAE is also a vital U.S. partner on a wide range of regional security issues. The United States works with the UAE and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to increase cooperation on border security, maritime security, military preparedness, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism.
The UAE has fought alongside the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as being an active, expeditionary participant in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and in operations against al-Qa’ida and their regional and global affiliates. The UAE is a co-lead of the Global Coalition’s Communications Working Group, providing strong support for counter-messaging and countering violent extremism through its Sawab and Hedayah centers, and also a co-lead of the Coalition Stabilization Working Group.
Cooperation between the UAE and the United States has been vital to supporting U.S. interests across the region. Security cooperation and defense sales with the UAE serve U.S. foreign policy and national security interests. Such sales improve partner countries’ interoperability with U.S. forces and enhance their ability to meet their own legitimate defense needs, thereby contributing to regional security. These proposed sales make the UAE more capable and interoperable with U.S. partners, further enabling us to confront shared regional challenges for years to come. The UAE hosts the Gulf Air Warfare Center at Al Dhafra Air Base, where approximately 3,500 U.S. personnel are based and which provides regionally focused air and missile defense training for around 2,000 participants from 10 nations every year. UAE ports also provide critical logistical support for the U.S. Navy and collectively host more Navy ships than any other port outside the United States.
The U.S. has $29.3 billion in active government-to-government sales cases with the UAE under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. The U.S.-UAE partnership has enhanced the UAE’s military capabilities to the point that they have become a net security provider for the region. Government-to-government sales to the UAE contribute to this partnership and are listed here. Recent significant sales that are in various stages of case development and implementation include: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft; MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft; Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles; CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters; Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missiles; both new and refurbished AH-64E helicopters; Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures systems; MK-82, MK-84, GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs, GBU-58 Paveway II, and KMU-572 JDAM munitions; and AIM-120C8 AMRAAM, AGM-154C JSOW, AGM-154E JSOW-ER, AGM-88E AARGM, Patriot, Javelin, AIM-9X Sidewinder, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
Since 2016, the U.S. has also authorized the permanent export of over $11.3 billion in defense articles to the UAE via the Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) process. The top categories of DCS to the UAE include: launch vehicles, ground vehicles, and military electronics.
The United States and the UAE have the following defense cooperation agreements: A 1987 General Security of Military Information Agreement, a 2006 Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, and a 2019 Defense Cooperation Agreement.
The Defense Cooperation Agreement, which entered into force on May 24, 2019, was an important step for both countries that underscored their vital and longstanding collaboration in defeating terrorist groups, such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida, securing regional stability, and combatting threats against their common interests including terrorist financing.
The United States Interagency Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) Task Force provides training on MANPADS Recognition and threats to aviation security to border security, aviation security, and defense personnel working on the front lines to fight illicit weapons proliferation. Since 2020, the MANPADS Task Force has provided MANPADS recognition and interdiction training to 12 Emirati security officials.
The UAE is a long-standing contributor to United Nations (UN), NATO, and regional peacekeeping operations, including United Nations Operation in Somalia II, the UN’s peacekeeping Kosovo Force, and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The UAE also hosts the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School, the region’s first military school for women, which has trained female peacekeepers for deployment in Africa and Asia.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.