Delegates arriving for the opening of IDEX 2019 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Sunday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The US is looking to reduce the costs of purchasing military equipment in the face of increased competition and fiscal responsibilities faced by potential buyers, said a senior US official on Sunday at IDEX.

Speaking at a media round-table, Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, director of the Defence Security Cooperation Agency, acknowledged the changing landscape of global arms sales, and said the US would have to make changes if it wants to remain the world’s prime seller when it comes to military equipment.

“The two most important elements in ensuring the US remains the provider of choice is our speed [of delivery] and costs. We have been working very hard for many years to improve the speed of our process and our cost of our foreign military sales programme,” he said.

30%

Time cut to process foreign military sales in 10 years

“Over the last 10 years the Department of Defence has reduced the average time to process foreign military sales by 30 per cent. Last year we processed 1,624 new [military sales] and 3,931 changes to existing foreign military sales cases with 124 countries. We completed over half of those 5,555 cases in 52 days or less,” he added.

Lt. Gen Hooper said the UAE was among the beneficiaries of the new speeded system with the delivery of three new Patriot missile defence systems in 2018. “The Department of Defence provided critical equipment to support the procurement of three additional Patriot air defence fire units for the UAE. The department was able to achieve this in only six months as opposed to the usual 12-18 month timeline. This was an important achievement because the UAE uses the Patriot to assist our armed forces as well as to defend their homeland,” he added.

New trauma and rehab medical centre

Lt. Gen Hooper also spoke on a new partnership between the UAE and the US which will see the building of a new trauma, burn and rehab medical centre in Abu Dhabi. “The innovative trauma, burn and rehab centre here in the UAE will deploy critical US military medical personal in support of a new type of medical centre very similar to the medical centre we have for our troops in Germany.

“We’re going to put [this new centre] right here in Abu Dhabi, it’s a very exciting new initiative [and] when completed, this facility which is funded by the UAE will provide much needed emergency medical support to Emirati forces and regionally based US forces,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Hooper said that both countries were in the preliminary stages of planning with no date set yet on when the medical centre will be completed.