Country Listing

United Arab Emirates Table of Contents

United Arab Emirates

Organization and Equipment

The principal units of the UDF in 1993 were one mechanized infantry brigade, one armored brigade, two infantry brigades, one artillery brigade, and the Royal Guard, organized along brigade lines. The Central Military Command of Dubayy supplies one infantry brigade. Major weapons include French AMX-30 main battle tanks, of which an additional twenty-five tanks are on order. The Central Military Command separately purchased Italian OF-40 Mk 2 Lion tanks. French armor predominates throughout the army; it includes reconnaissance vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, APCs, and 155mm self-propelled howitzers (see table 41, Appendix). Negotiations were reportedly under way in 1992 for the purchase of 337 M1A1 tanks from the United States. The UAE also has a variety of older British armored vehicles, many of them in storage, as well as Brazilian APCs. The army's antitank guided wire missiles include twenty-five TOWs from the United States, some of them mounted on Urutu chassis, as well as French Milan and HOT and the older British Vigilant systems. Because of difficulties of coordination between air- and ground-based defenses, the operation of air defense missiles was shifted to the air force in 1988. The army's tactical air defense is limited to 20mm and 30mm guns.

The most powerful units of the UDF navy are two Lürssen corvettes delivered by Germany in 1991, similar to those of the Bahraini navy. The corvettes are supplemented by fast-attack craft and large patrol boats.

The air force is organized into two fighter-ground attack squadrons, one air defense squadron, and one counterinsurgency squadron. The fighter-ground attack squadrons are equipped with Mirage IIIs and British Hawks, the latter with a combined attack and training role. The fighter squadron is composed of Mirage 5s and Mirage 2000s. The counterinsurgency squadron is equipped with the Italian Aermacchi. In addition, the air force has four early warning aircraft. A number of French helicopters are armed with Exocet, HOT, and other air-to-ground missiles. In 1991 the United States agreed to the sale of twenty Apache attack helicopters after the administration overcame objections in Congress by pointing out that the helicopters were needed to defend the UAE's oil platforms in the gulf and to enable the UAE to contribute more effectively to the deterrence of aggression by Iraq.

The existing air defense system is based on one air defense brigade organized into thirteen batteries armed with Rapier, Crotale, and RBS-70 SAMs. Five batteries of improved Hawk missiles were being formed in 1992, with training provided by the United States.

Data as of January 1993