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Lockheed Martin wins US$1.6b UAE deal

THE United Arab Emirates will pay Lockheed Martin Corp 6 billion dirhams (US$1.63 billion) to upgrade 80 F-16 jet fighters, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

Major General Abdullah Al Sayed Al Hashemi, chief of the Military Committee and spokesman for the UAE Armed Forces was speaking at a news conference at the Dubai Airshow yesterday.

The ministry also announced other deals, including 66 million dirhams to US-based OTNA INC for Blu-109 ammunition and a 35 million dirham agreement with Thales Communications and Security SAS to secure defense communications.

The UAE is also interested in fifth-generation fighter jets with a preference for Lockheed Martin’s F-35, which is the only Western-made jet that fully meets those requirements.

Fifth generation is a definition that varies according to each manufacturer but broadly includes advanced stealth capability and a high level of computerized connectivity between fighter jets.

The US company has sold the F-35 to a range of allies, including Turkey, South Korea, Japan, and Israel. Sales to the Gulf require more scrutiny, however, due to the US government’s policy of helping Israel to keep a qualitative military edge in the Middle East.

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