x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Future is bright for forces, say top brass

The Armed Forces have grown in step with the nation's development and plan to continue acquiring advanced defence technologies, military leaders say.

The UAE's troops form a vital part of a new era of training, development and expenditure.
The UAE's troops form a vital part of a new era of training, development and expenditure.

ABU DHABI // The Armed Forces have grown in step with the nation's development and planned to continue acquiring advanced defence technologies, military leaders said. "The military strategy is in line with the state's strategy that has linked security to development through integrating military plans with development plans, whereby neither of the two grows at the expense of the other," said Lt General Hamad Mohammed Thani al Rumaithi, the Armed Forces chief of staff. He made the remarks in a statement published by Nation Shield, a monthly magazine of the Armed Forces.

"The leadership has put a military strategy that was keen to stay up-to-date with developments in the fields of weapons and equipment, taking into consideration changes at the international level," Gen Rumaithi said. The UAE has major plans to develop its defence capabilities, the latest of which is development of an air-defence system. The Government notified the US Congress last December that it might buy the Patriot surface-to-air missile interception system.

According to a congressional report in January, the proposed purchase includes 504 missiles, plus radar sets and launcher stations. If concluded, the deal would cost US$9 billion (Dh33bn). The UAE is also considering the longer-range Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system, developed by Lockheed Martin, which targets ballistic missiles in space. The Emirates also has a request pending for the Hawk advanced medium-altitude missile system, according to a website managed by the UAE Embassy in Washington. "This occasion motivates us to exert more efforts to acquire the latest weapon technologies and continue our training and enriching of military knowledge," Gen Rumaithi's statement said.

The Armed Forces have worked for years to enhance its defence capabilities "by upgrading their hardware and training their cadres to deal with the latest weapon systems", he said. "As a result the Armed Forces are extremely vigilant, efficient and constantly ready, which enabled them to take part in international peacekeeping and rescue efforts under the umbrella of the UN. Furthermore, the Armed Forces have provided an internal security umbrella which has turned the Emirates into an oasis of security and stability." Gen Rumaithi added that the leadership not only provided the Armed Forces with all available capabilities, but also put forward a military strategy to ensure that it stayed on par with advanced military establishments of other countries.

Major Gen Saeed Mohammed Khalaf al Rumaithi, the deputy chief of staff, said in a separate statement: "It was natural to build national Armed Forces that carry the responsibility of protecting the development and construction projects. To this end the Government has provided all means, money and guidance, so that Armed Forces have boosted their self-defence capabilities, including acquiring the latest weapons technologies to protect the homeland and ensure stability and progress." He said Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, believed in quality rather than quantity in building the Armed Forces. Major Gen Obaid Mohammed al Kaabi, the Ministry of Defence undersecretary, said: "The leader of the Armed Forces believes in the special role of our forces whether in the Gulf region, the Arab world, or in taking an active role under the UN to serve global peace and security." mhabboush@thenational.ae