Rafale fighter planes, which belong to France’s permanent military base in Abu Dhabi, will be engaged alongside the UAE armed forces in “surveillance, detection and interception missions if necessary,” reports Asian Lit News
France on Friday decided to reinforce UAE’s air defence after a series of drone attacks launched from Yemen by Iran-backed Houthi militias on the country, the French armed forces minister said on Friday.
“The United Arab Emirates were victims of serious attacks on their territory in January. In order to show our solidarity with this friendly country, France has decided to provide military support, in particular to protect their airspace against any intrusion,” Florence Parly said on twitter.
She said Rafale fighter planes, which belong to France’s permanent military base in Abu Dhabi, “are thus engaged alongside the UAE armed forces in surveillance, detection and interception missions if necessary.”
She also hailed the longstanding partnership between France and the United Arab Emirates.
“France and the United Arab Emirates are linked by a strategic partnership, our contribution is part of the application of our defense cooperation agreement,” she added.
UAE had recently signed a contract with France that includes purchasing 80 Rafale fighter jets to replace the UAE Air Force Mirage fleet in addition to training and maintenance purposes.
Meanwhile, the United States is sending its guided missile destroyer USS Cole and fighter jets to partner with the UAE Navy in the wake of the recent Houthi attacks against the country.
In a phone call with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin spoke reviewed a range of actions the Department of Defence is taking to support the UAE. These include continuing to provide early warning intelligence, collaborating on air defense, and sending USS Cole to the region.
USS Cole is the same missile destroyer that was attacked by Al Qaeda militants on October 12, 2000 – a precursor to 9/11 – during a port call in Aden, resulting in the death of 17 US Navy sailors, Khaleej Times reported.
Austin informed the Crown Prince of his decision to deploy 5th Generation Fighter aircraft to assist the UAE against the current threat and as a clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a long-standing strategic partner, the Pentagon said in a press release.