The U.S. State Department has approved a potential sale to the United Arab Emirates of air-to-air missiles.
In a press release on March 8, 2018, the U.S. State Department announced the approval of a sale to the UAE. The Emirati government requested
three hundred (300) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II missiles, forty (40) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs), thirty (30) AIM-9X-2 Block II Tactical guidance units, fifteen (15) AIM-9X-2 CATM guidance units, containers, spares, support equipment and missile support, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and other related logistics support, and other associated support equipment and services.
The sale carries an estimated value of $270.4 million.
[t]his potential sale will improve the UAE’s capability to meet current and future threats and provide an enhanced capability for its Air Force. The UAE will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense. The UAE will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.
Manufacturer Raytheon will be the prime contractor for the sale.
Congress was formally notified of the potential sale on March 7 and will now have an opportunity to review the proposed deal.
Last month, Senator Robert Corker (R-TN), who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced that he was lifting his hold on the sale of weapons to Gulf states, which he had enacted in 2017 after a dispute between Qatar and several of its neighbors, including the UAE.
In a statement, he said,
Given that weapons sales are part of our security cooperation with these states, I am lifting my blanket hold on sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC and will resume informally clearing those sales if the administration can make the case that … the purchasing state is taking effective steps to combat support for terrorism.
It is not known whether Senator Corker’s hold impacted any potential sales during the period it was active.