> our title:

UAE First in Mid-East to Order Predator UAV

> original title:

U.A.E. to Buy Drones, Army Jeeps in $1.4 Billion Defense Deals (excerpt)

(Source: Bloomberg; published Feb 18, 2013)

The United Arab Emirates are the first Mid-East country allowed to buy Predator UAVs, but its aircraft will be modified to prevent their carrying weapons. (USAF photo)

The United Arab Emirates said it will spend $1.4 billion on jeeps, unmanned aircraft and missiles, and plans further defense deals as Persian Gulf countries bolster their armies.

The U.A.E. agreed to buy 750 military vehicles from Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp. for $380 million, and pay almost $200 million for Predator drones, Major General Obaid Al Ketbi said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi. Those were the largest of 17 contracts announced today, with more to follow.

Al Ketbi said the U.A.E.’s air force is still deciding between planes made by Dassault Aviation SA and Eurofighter GmbH.

Persian Gulf countries are investing in defense systems and expanding troop mobility as they take on foreign engagements. Abu Dhabi, hosting its biannual defense industry trade show, is seeking partnerships to help meet some of its requirements domestically and lessen the economy’s reliance on oil. (end of excerpt)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Reuters reported from IDEX that the UAE “awarded the contract to purchase the drones to a local company, International Golden Group, which will buy them from [General Atomics]. The deal marks General Atomics' first sale of an unarmed version of its Predator drones in the Middle East.)

Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg website.