United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also interested in the PAC-3 missile.
The UAE plans to invest up to nine billion US$ in the acquisition
of nine fire units, to be equipped with PATRIOT
Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) and Guidance Enhanced Missiles-T
(GEM-T) missiles. The UAE is expected to maximize the air defense
and missile defense capability of the Patriot, by fielding both
types with all batteries providing both air and missile defense
optimized capability with all fire units. In total, UAE plans
to equip its Patriot fleet with 504 missiles (288 PAC-3s and
216 GEM-T missiles), representing over 200% reload factor for
all assets (50% for GEM/T and plus 100% for PAC-3). The system
will also include mobile engagement control stations and radar
sets and 37 launching stations (4 per fire unit) to equip ten
independent fire units (eight of them could be mobile). Kuwait
is also interested in upgrading its existing Patriot capability.
Such dense deployment is considered to be extremely extensive,
and could represent the country's determination to defend itself
or an excessive vulnerability of the regime, to internal and
regional threats. However, the UAE inventory could also be considered
as part of a regional defensive network which the US is trying
to establish since the mid 1990s.
Kuwait is also planning to buy 80 PAC-3 missiles and upgrade
60 of its current PAC-2 Missiles to GEM-T version, at an estimated
cost of US$1.36 billion. Further improvements are planned for
six batteries, upgrading their radars to REP III standard.
The region is also investing in upgrades and acquisition of
modern airborne early warning capabilities. The United Arab
Emirates is reported to have revived its interest in acquiring
the Hawkeye - the country has requested three used US Navy E-2Cs
to be refurbished and upgraded into Hawkeye 2000 configuration.
In 2002 the UAE asked for five refurbished E-2Cs at an estimated
cost of $400 million, but eventually cancelled the program.
Five years later, the cost of only three aircraft soared to
Under a separate program the Royal Saudi
Arabia Air Force (RSAF) is planning to invest $400 million in
furtehr modernization of their 'Peace Sentinel' E-3A Sentry
Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft. The upgrade
will include Command, Control and Communications (C3) mission
equipment/Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) Group B kits.
The Peace Sentinel program for Saudi Arabia began in 1981. It
included five AWACS aircraft and six E-3 derivative (KE-3) inflight
refueling tanker aircraft. The first Saudi E-3 was delivered
in June 1986, with deliveries of the remaining E-3s and tankers
completed by September 1987. The current program is the largest
upgrade phase of the continuous modernization of 'Peace Sentinel'
aircraft. The first major upgrade were launched in September
2003 Boeing completed upgrading the mission computers and other
hardware and software on the RSAF AWACS fleet, under a $60 million
contract. Four years later, the Saudis launched a $50 million
contract with Boeing, to upgrade the aircraft communications
links to Link-16. This link is the standard datalink used in
coalition air forces, offering secure, jam-resistant, digital
data link that allows military aircraft, ships and ground units
to exchange their tactical pictures in near real time. Link
16 also supports the exchange of text messages and imagery data
and provides additional channels for digital voice.
The RSAF is also planning
to upgrade the ground attack capability of its F-15E strike
Eagle aircraft, by replacing the ageing LANTIRN targeting systems
with Lockheed Martin's AN/AAQ-33
Sniper advanced targeting pods. The US Defense Security
Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the US Congress of a possible
Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 40 Sniper pods systems at a maximum
value of $220 million.
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