United Arab Emirates: among the most powerful Arab countries?

(To Maria Grazia Labellarte)

According to the index of the Global Fire Power Military Strength, the annual analysis of data on the military forces of over 140 countries around the world, in 2022 the Persian Gulf country ranks sixth as a military power in the Arab world and 36th in the world.

The report assesses each potential country's capability by land, sea and air, based on conventional means of force, from manpower, equipment, financing, geography and logistics, more than 50 factors were analyzed to determine the ranking of these 140 countries.

The UAE Army with an active duty force of 77.000 troops totals approximately 65.000 troops. In land terms, the Gulf state deploys 354 tanks Leclerc, 1.000 armored fighting vehicles for infantry, 78 155/52 G6 self-propelled artillery, 52 field rocket launchers of various calibers (source Atalayar).

A peculiar force remains the air force with a total of 554 aircraft, of which 78 F-16 multirole fighters, 59 fighter-bombers The Mirage, 2000 and ordered 80 fighters Gust F4. In addition, the Air Force has 3 AEW electronic warfare aircraft, 3 KC-30A tankers (two more ordered), 8 C-17A strategic transport aircraft, 30 AH-64D / E attack helicopters, 28 heavy transport helicopters CH-47D / F and 113 medium helicopters including UH-60, AS565 / 350 and AW-139. As for the Navy, the United Arab Emirates has about seventy naval units, including nine corvettes, 20 patrol boats and two minesweepers.

In the index Global Fire Power the United States tops the list of the best armies in the world, followed by Russia and China. In the Middle East, Egypt overtook the region's military powers after ranking 20th globally. Saudi Arabia ranked second among Arab countries and XNUMXth among all countries.

The military position of the UAE, however, has also allowed the country to react to a series of terrorist attacks, such as the one at the beginning of 2022 in Abu Dhabi by the Yemeni Houthis (on that occasion the same ministry of Defense of the Gulf State reported that its anti-aircraft defenses had intercepted and destroyed two missiles launched by the Houthi rebels against the capital without leaving victims). Later in a communiqué, the ministry confirmed to "be ready to face any threat". Today, after the Abu Dhabi attacks, the use of drones is prohibited.

It is interesting from an economic-military point of view to observe what is happening in the country, however, at the level of recruitment of foreign military personnel. According to The Washington Post the most coveted overseas job market for serving members of the United States is precisely the Emirates, as they would outsource their forces to foreign advisors and mercenaries.

About 280 retired servicemen have applied for federal authorization to work for the UAE, far more than for any other country, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). Those who have worked as military contractors or consultants for the Emirates include senior generals already active in government administrations.

The influx of American veterans willing to sell their military expertise to a foreign power - most with the consent of the Pentagon and the State Department - has helped the small but wealthy UAE build what many experts consider "forces." powerful ".

Il The Washington Post had to file two lawsuits for the Freedom Of Information Act act to oblige the US military and the State Department to issue documents on retired troops working for the UAE and other foreign governments.

The agencies drafted the names of staff except for retired generals and admirals, saying disclosure of their identities could lead to "embarrassment and harassment" (source Washington Post).

These professionals would serve as strategic consultants, aircraft mechanics, instructor pilots, drone operators, missile defense experts, artillery trainers, radar specialists, cyber security consultants, logistics planners, and maintenance supervisors. Most are veterans of the US Air Force and Army. About a third are retired officers.

Foreign analysts estimate that the UAE spends around 22 billion dollars a year for defense, more or less like Turkey.

Photo: Dassault Aviation

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