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Monday, November 13, 2017

UAE Signs Agreement for F-16 Upgrades

The United Arab Emirates has reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin on the upgrade of Emirati F-16s.

At the first day of the Dubai Air Show, the Emirati armed forces announced that it had signed a deal with Lockheed Martin for the upgrade of 80 F-16 fighter jets. The agreement is worth $1.6 billion.

Speaking to The National, Lockheed Martin's global president and chief executive Marillyn Hewson said, "We are proud of our 40-year partnership with the UAE. The UAE Air Force flies the most advanced fourth-generation fighter in the world-- the F-16 Block 60, ‘Desert Falcon’ and we will continue to support them as they maintain those aircraft. This is yet another step forward in our partnership to enhance UAE national security and air defence capabilities."

Hewson added, "We will continue to expand in the region, including in the UAE and Saudi Arabia."

Neither side detailed what the upgrades will entail.

In February, Lockheed Martin's regional vice president, Rich Groesch, noted that Lockheed Martin was seeking to extend the service life of the Emirati F-16s. He said, "Our concentration right now is the support of the aircraft that they got to be able to keep them available to fly the combat sortie rates. We are doing all the stuff right now in conjunction with the UAE Air Force to be able to have them fly those airplanes to 2030 to 2040."

The UAE has utilized its F-16s to support combat missions abroad in Syria and in Yemen.

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