The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a new deal with an American arms manufacturer under which the firm would supply the small Persian Gulf country with laser-guided bombs, authorities say.
The deal, announced Tuesday at the Dubai Airshow and worth 2.5 billion dirhams ($684.4 million), would see the American missile maker Raytheon Co. sell GBU-10 and GBU-12 Paveway laser-guided bomb kits to Abu Dhabi, among other weapons.
UAE authorities also signed arms deals with Germany’s Rheinmetall to buy artillery from the company. The contract will also enable Rheinmetall to support Etihad Airways with transportation equipment.
The purchase of weapons comes amid the UAE’s involvement in a deadly campaign, led by Saudi Arabia, against Yemen. More than 10,000 people have been killed and over two million have been displaced since March 2015, when the regime in Riyadh began the campaign.
Abu Dhabi has also announced plans for buying 75 Mirage 2000-9 aircraft from the French multinational company Dassault and Thales to upgrade its air force fleet. That comes despite increasing calls for a halt to the UAE’s contribution to the devastating Saudi-led airstrikes on civilian areas in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are two major recipients in the Persian Gulf of weapons from the United States and other Western countries. Other countries in the region have accused the two of sparking an arms race by their excessive purchase of modern weaponry from the West.
Reports over the past few years have indicated that much of the UAE's modern weaponry have found their way into the hands of militants in Libya, where Abu Dhabi supports an administration opposed to Tripoli's internationally-recognized government.