The U.S. State Department approved a $2 billion sale of missiles to the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The sale would include 60 Patriot PAC-3 interceptors made by Lockheed Martin Corp and 100 GEM-T missiles made by Raytheon Co, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The US is the largest supplier of arms to the UAE, providing 63% of all major weaponry to the Middle Eastern country since 2009. UAE is also one of the top 10 purchasers of American weapons between 2011 and 2015.
The UAE has more than doubled its defense budget from $9.7 billion in 2005 to over $22 billion in 2014.
The UAE has used this spending to obtain three squadrons of F-16 jets – a design even more advanced than the F-16s possessed by the US Air Force.
Some of UAE’s military decisions, however, have been questionable, including its involvement in quelling a democratic movement in Bahrain and leading role in the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen.
It was also recently reported that UAE has been supplying Libyan General Khalifa Haftar with warplanes. Backed by Russia, Haftar is fighting other factions in the oil-rich nation for power, including the US and UN-backed government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of an important ally which has been, and continues to be, a force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” the Pentagon said.