The United Arab Emirates (UAE) celebrated the 45th anniversary of merging its Air Force with Air Defense Forces with a ceremony in January 2021.
Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed Al-Alawi, commander of the Air Force and Air Defense, praised the country’s leadership for its long-term commitment to improving air power in defense of the UAE’s interests.
“The Air Force and Air Defense were able during the past years, given the planning that was developed on solid scientific foundations, to employ cutting edge technology in terms of equipment, weapons and training, modernizing the air force and rendering it capable of meeting challenges and defending the homeland,” the general said.
The UAE’s political and military leadership has set its sights on developing the UAE politically, economically and militarily, and has developed plans to achieve such goals.
In terms of the military, the UAE hosted exhibitions of state-of-the-art technology in military industries such as the International Defense Exhibition and Conference, constructed military facilities and training centers to include Al Hamra Training Center and participated in regional and international joint exercises.
One recent exercise was Iron Union 14, which concluded in February 2021. It is part of a twice-yearly exercise between UAE and U.S. ground forces. Iron Union builds interoperability between the two military partners and includes artillery practice and armored maneuvers in the desert of Al Hamra.
Bilateral security cooperation between the UAE and U.S. has grown since the 1990 Gulf War. The two countries signed a defense cooperation agreement in 1994 that was updated in May 2019.
UAE troops have participated in six multinational military missions over the past 30 years: Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Bosnia-Kosovo, Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh.
Sources: Al-Ittihad, UAE Embassy to the U.S.