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Tue 31 May 2011 09:31 AM

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UAE seeks $100m deal to keep F-16 jets airborne

Gulf state is in talks with US for supplies, maintenance deal for fleet of F-16 fighter jets

UAE seeks $100m deal to keep F-16 jets airborne
F-16 fighter jet
UAE seeks $100m deal to keep F-16 jets airborne
(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The UAE is seeking $100m worth of supplies and maintenance support for its fleet of F-16 fighter jets, the US Defense Department said.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement it had notified Congress of the proposed sale May 24. The contract would include a range of classified and unclassified F-16 aircraft systems, munitions, as well as ground support and training.

The agency called the UAE a “partner nation…. [and] important force for peace, political stability and economic progress in the Middle East”.

Flush with petrodollars, the six countries of the Gulf have unveiled ambitious plans to modernise their small armed forces. The region is forecast to spend as much as $100bn in the next few years in overhauling their military, in part to counter the perceived threat posed by Iran.

The world’s No.3 oil exporter was in March named the region's largest arms importer and the sixth largest buyer of weapons worldwide by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

The UAE in March committed six of its F-16 fighters and six Mirage aircraft to help enforce the NATO-led no fly zone over Libya. One of its F-16 jets crashed after veering off the runway at an air base in Italy after landing.

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