UAE to acquire $200 million worth of US drones

Purchase of unarmed UAVs marks effort to combat Iran’s advancing capabilities, improve surveillance technology

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A defense official in the United Arab Emirates said the Gulf nation has signed $1.4 billion in military contracts that include purchases of US-made drones.

The drone deal, worth nearly $200 million, suggests Gulf Arab states are looking to boost surveillance capabilities to match claims by rival Iran of growing drone technology. The UAE says the Predator drones, built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, will not be outfitted for weapons capabilities, but used for reconnaissance.

Iran claimed it has developed its own sophisticated drones and managed to reverse-engineer a CIA drone seized in December 2011 after it entered Iranian airspace.

UAE military spokesman Maj. Gen. Obaid al-Ketbi also said the deals include 750 US-made mine-resistant vehicles.

The contracts were announced Monday at a defense show in Abu Dhabi.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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