Trump administration pushes ahead with massive arms deal with UAE


A week after losing the 2020 US election, the Trump administration announced a number of huge arms deal between the USA and the United Arab Emirates. Collectively the three deals are valued at $23.4bn and includes:

  • 50 F-35 fighter jets,
  • 18 MQ-9B Reaper drones and an array of air-delivered munitions, such as a the AGM-154E Joint Standoff Weapon (a glide bomb that allows aircraft to attack beyond the range of air defences),
  • 515 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles,
  • 802 AIM-120C8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles,
  • 1000 MK-84 2,000LB GP Bombs

and a wide range of electronic systems, training, equipment. The amount of military equipment could alter the balance of power in the region, giving more power to the relatively small UAE. The UAE were also keen to buy EA-18 Growler jets, which can be used to jam enemy air defences, but this is yet to be approved.

The US's House of Congress also has a say in whether the deal goes ahead, and some members of the House have argued that the deal has been rushed through. The administration denied that the deal amounted to a reward to the UAE for recently normalising relations with Israel, though the deal is associated with Trump's push to see Arab countries increase ties with Israel.

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