UAE’S CUMULATIVE DEFENCE EXPENDITURE TO REACH $140.8 BILLION BY 2021
Efforts to modernise the military and improve defence will increase UAE’s defence expenditure from the average of $22.4 billion during 2012-16 to $28.2 billion during 2017-21, according to a report by Strategic Defence Intelligence (SDI). Titled ‘Future of the UAE Defense Industry – Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2021’, the report states that the UAE’s cumulative defence expenditure during 2017-21 will grow to reach $140.8 billion by the end of the forecast period. UAE is estimated to spend $53.1 billion on defence procurements on a cumulative basis during the forecast period. Defence spending will be driven by UAE’s efforts to protect crucial infrastructure, its territorial dispute with Iran, and initiatives to expand the domestic defence industry. SDI also estimates the UAE’s defence expenditure as a proportion of its GDP to stand at 6.7 per cent, with an average per capita expenditure of $2,610 during the forecast period. The report adds that defence manufacturers can seek export opportunities in aerial platforms, missiles, naval platforms and surveillance areas. It also highlights other areas where the UAE is likely to invest, such as reconnaissance, space, cyber security, border control, and digital warfare initiatives. The US is the biggest supplier of equipment to the UAE, accounting for 65.4 per cent of the country’s arms imports.