Focus Areas

Connecting and Securing the World

Commercial Aerospace and Defense


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The United Arab Emirates and the United States share a common resolve to preserve security and stability in the Middle East and around the world. As part of its efforts to contribute to global security, the U.A.E. is the only Arab country to have participated in six U.S.-led coalition actions, beginning with the First Gulf War. Since then, the U.A.E. has also joined with the U.S. in actions in Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya, and the campaign against the “Islamic State” (Daesh) in Syria and Iraq.

Today, the U.S.-U.A.E. defense and security relationship includes the hosting of thousands of U.S. troops in the U.A.E., extensive joint exercises and training, deep military and intelligence cooperation, and billions of dollars in U.S. arms sales. Major U.S. defense companies Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon – key founders of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council – have been joined by a diverse group of other American large and mid-sized aerospace and defense companies in forming strong commercial partnerships in the defense and aerospace sector.

The exchange of commercial aircraft forms another foundational pillar of the U.S.-U.A.E. bilateral relationship. As highlighted in the Business Council’s Commercial Aviation Update, Emirates has become the world’s largest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft. Etihad and Emirates’ sister airline, flydubai, have also purchased significant numbers of Boeing aircraft. These purchases, and the associated procurement of GE engines, UTC avionics, and other equipment, have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States. In turn, developments such as Boeing’s purchases of commercial composite aerostructures from U.A.E.-based Mubadala subsidiary company Strata Manufacturing further strengthen bilateral ties.

More recently, the U.S. and U.A.E. have expanded partnerships in space exploration and human spaceflight. NASA and the U.A.E. Space Agency’s 2018 Agreement has paved the way for cooperation in research, the exchange of space-related knowledge, and commercial ties in space travel. The U.A.E. Space Agency’s partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as those with the University of California, Berkeley, and Arizona State University, supported the successful launch of the Mars Hope Probe.

Advancing bilateral partnerships in the defense and aerospace industry is a central priority of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council. The Council serves American and Emirati member companies in the sector by actively identifying new opportunities and partnerships, providing members access to high-level stakeholders in both the U.A.E. and U.S., and facilitating productive defense-related discussions, including those held during the bi-annual International Defense Exhibition and Dubai Air Show, and the annual Association for the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition.

The Business Council has also hosted webinars with H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and Managing Director of EDGE; H.E. Sarah Al Amiri, U.A.E. Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chair of the U.A.E. Space Agency; defense industry leaders; U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense, Dana Stroulheads of Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways, former Congressional leaders; and other key stakeholders in the bilateral defense and aerospace relationship. In addition, the Council champions the principle of “Open Skies,” publishes timely briefs on commercial aviation and developments in space exploration, and regularly updates its comprehensive report on the defense relationship: “An Enduring Partnership The U.S.-U.A.E. Defense and Security Relationship

Key Institutions