French media reports revealed an unannounced deal between the UAE and France involving three contracts to upgrade Emirati Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets, valued at approximately $552 million, during the Dubai Air Show last week.
Details of the upgrade, which will include 30 fighter jets, have not been made public, but its stated goal is to enable UAE Mirage fighter jets to operate at full capacity and combat capability until 2030, according to French security and defense website Opex 360.
The signatories to the three contracts are Dassault Aviation, France’s Thales Group and the European missile developer MPDA, one of which is based in Paris.
Dassault Aviation received the biggest share of the deal, signing a $460 million contract, while the contracts signed with Thales Group and MBDA were $65 million and $26 million, respectively.
These three contracts now make it difficult to sign an agreement whereby the UAE will acquire new Mirage fighter jets – something that has been talked about a decade ago, given that one of the conditions for completing any such deal is for France to retrieve the planes. Mirage 2000-9 ”held by the UAE.
The three companies involved in the modernization of Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets also signed cooperation agreements with the UAE’s Tawazun Complex for Security and Defense Industries, whereby Dassault Aviation will set up a flight testing center that will play a key role in promoting integration and development. Defense industry and future aviation testing programs in the region, ”said Thierry Carlier, Director of International Development at the French General Directorate of Armaments.
Under the agreement, MPDA has pledged to establish an engineering center that “will serve as a design body for missile systems for the benefit of the UAE.”
Thales, through its subsidiary Thales Emirates, will also set up a specialized center in security systems management, such as radar, wireless communications and defense technologies, to “encourage local partnerships,” particularly with the UAE-based EDG Group, the defense industry. What the site confirmed.
In June, French media revealed that the French government had sold two frigates to Abu Dhabi for 750 million euros.
At the time, Le Parisien reported that France had sold two Quwind frigates to the UAE.
The sale of the frigates came on the back of the signing of a secret agreement between the UAE and France’s Naval Group (a French industrial group specializing in maritime defense) in Abu Dhabi on March 25.
There was no official announcement of the deal either from the UAE or France because of the French government’s fear of public anger and the movements of French and European human rights organizations against it in light of the wide demands of Paris to stop the sale of arms to the UAE and its Saudi ally.
Human rights organizations active in France have repeatedly moved, including filing lawsuits in the French judiciary, to press Paris to stop selling arms to the UAE.
Military spending and the pursuit of more armaments have turned into an obsession that dominates the UAE regime in its wars and foreign interventions.
The UAE system plans to spend $17 billion on military armaments next year, according to Reuters news agency, up from $14.4 billion in 2014 when the government last unveiled its spending. The UAE currently spends only a fraction at the local level.
The agency highlighted that the UAE’s plans to strengthen its military and armaments industries would put it under a new microscope for scrutiny.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs R. Clark Cooper, Washington wants the UAE to put more censorship as it develops its military industry.
According to the agency, “the UAE is making its way to develop military equipment equipped with high technology to give it control over sensitive defense capabilities and reduce dependence on imports.”
The state defense companies were assembled under the umbrella of Edge, a $5 billion group that leads the development of advanced military weapons.
This comes as the UAE is experiencing an economic crisis looming as a result of the decline in the value of real estate in Dubai and the decline of the business environment in the country during the last five years.
For years, the UAE has been at the center of economic problems with the collapse of oil derivatives prices and all the solutions being exerted. Trying to recover from a 2008 setback.