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United Arab Emirates

Last Updated: 31 July 2012

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

In September 2011, the UAE attended the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Beirut, Lebanon as an observer. This was its first-ever participation at a meeting of the ban convention. The UAE did not make any statements at the meeting, but its head of the UAE delegation informed the Monitor that the UAE fully supports the humanitarian aspects of the convention and is studying its position on joining.[1]

The UAE did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the convention in 2008 and it has never made a public statement on its policy on cluster munitions.

The UAE is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

Convention on Conventional Weapons

The UAE is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and it participated in CCW work on cluster munitions in 2011.

At the beginning of the CCW’s Fourth Review Conference in November 2011, the UAE said that it views the CCW as “an international high-level framework to rapidly achieve the international community’s target of facing the humanitarian consequences of cluster munitions, attaining a balance between military and humanitarian aspects at the same time.”[2]

The Review Conference ended without reaching agreement on the draft protocol and with no proposals for continuing the negotiations in 2012, thus concluding the CCW’s work on cluster munitions.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

The UAE is not known to have used, produced, or exported cluster munitions, but it has a stockpile of the weapons which it imported from several sources, including surface-fired rockets and missiles and air-dropped bombs. In September 2011, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official informed the Monitor that the UAE has never produced or used cluster munitions.[3]

In 1999, the United States (US) sold the UAE 1,800 CBU-87 bombs (each containing 202 BLU-97 submunitions).[4] In September 2006, the US announced the sale of large amounts of cluster munitions to the UAE: 101 M39A1 ATACMS missiles (each containing 300 M74 submunitions), 104 M26 MLRS rocket pods (each pod contains six rockets, each rocket contains 644 M77 dual purpose improved conventional munition [DPICM] submunitions), and 130 M30 GMLRS DPICM rocket pods.[5]

Growing out of the September 2006 deal, it was reported in March 2009 that the US intended to produce and export 780 M30 GMLRS rockets (each with 404 M101 DPICM submunitions) to the UAE.[6] Under US legislation signed into law on 11 March 2009, the export of these cluster munitions is prohibited. However, an army official said that the deal was signed in 2007, well before the export ban legislation was introduced, and that the army obtained legal opinions that confirm the validity of the final sale.[7]

In 2006–2007, Turkey sold to the UAE 3,020 TRK-122 122mm unguided surface-to-surface rockets, each containing 56 M85 DPICM submunitions.[8]

Additionally, Textron Defense Systems of the US delivered an unknown number of CBU-105 sensor-fuzed weapons, valued at $57 million, to the UAE in June 2010. The contract for the sale was signed in November 2007.[9] Sensor-fuzed weapons are cluster munitions that are prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but export is allowed under US law because they have a reported failure rate of less than 1%.

Jane’s Information Group reports that British-made BL-755 bombs are also in service with the UAE air force.[10] Additionally Jane’s lists the UAE as possessing the Hydra-70 air-to-surface unguided rocket system, but it is not known if this stockpile includes the M261 multipurpose submunition variant.[11]

The UAE is also reported to possess 122mm Type-90 and 330mm Smerch surface-to-surface rocket launchers, but it is not known if the UAE possesses rockets with submunition payloads.[12]


[1] Interview with Ambassador Faris Mohammed Al-Mazroui, Assistant for Security and Military Affairs, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beirut, 15 September 2011.

[2] Statement of the UAE, CCW Fourth Review Conference, Geneva, 15 November 2011, http://bit.ly/LDvu5V.

[3] Interview with Amb. Al-Mazroui, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beirut, 15 September 2011.

[4] US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Notifications to Congress of Pending US Arms Transfers,” November 1999.

[5] US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “News Release: United Arab Emirates- High Mobility Artillery Rocket System” (Transmittal No. 06-55), 21 September 2006.

[6] Kate Brannen, “Army will Complete 2007 DPICM Sale Despite New Law From Congress,” Inside the Army, 23 March 2009.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Turkey, UN Register of Conventional Arms, submission for Calendar Year 2006 (22 March 2007) and submission for Calendar Year 2007 (7 July 2008).

[9] Textron Inc., “Q2 2010 Earnings Call,” 21 July 2010, www.seekingalpha.com; and Textron Defense Systems, “Textron Defense Systems and UAE Armed Forces Sign Sensor Fuzed Weapon Contract,” Press release, 13 November 2007, www.textrondefense.com. Also, the US Congress was notified in June 2007 of a proposed commercial sale of “technical data, defense services, and defense articles to support the sale of the Sensor Fuzed Weapons” to the UAE. Jeffrey T. Bergner, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, US Department of State, to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives (Transmittal No. DDTC 017-07), 7 June 2007.

[10] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 847.

[11] Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal, CD-edition, 14 December 2007 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).

[12] International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 334.