Boeing, GE and Lockheed Martin are poised to seal a US$5 billion (Dh18.35bn) contract with the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces which plans to double its fleet of Apache attack helicopters to 60.

The sale is part of a wholesale modernisation of the UAE’s rotorcraft fleet including proposed sales of Chinook heavy lift helicopters and Black Hawk tactical transport helicopters that will be used for domestic protection as well as peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress last week of the potential sale as well as a separate deal with the UAE for 140 tactical missile systems and practice rockets worth $140m.

“The UAE is currently deployed in support of US regional operations, and plans to provide future deployment support,” the DSCA said. “This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.” The agency gave no indication when the deal might be completed.

Under the proposed foreign military sale, the UAE would acquire 30 new Apache helicopters and convert its existing fleet of 30 Boeing Apaches acquired in the mid-1990s to the new Block III configuration. The deal would also include 120 GE engines, 70 Lockheed Martin Longbow fire-control radars and other systems including night vision sensors and radar jammers.

Source: Ivan Gale for The National.

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