February 23, 2009, Abu Dhabi -- The United Arab Emirates has confirmed it is to purchase Boeing C-17 and Lockheed Martin C-130J airlifters.
The confirmation came not with an official announcement, but with a simple ceremony involving the removal of shrouds covering models of the two aircraft in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince and deputy supreme commander.
Nothing was said officially, but the smiles on the faces of the Boeing and Lockheed executives crowding behind the models on the stand of the state-owned investment house Mubadala told the story well enough.
An official announcement is expected within 24 hours detailing the purchase.
However, yesterday Defense News quoted industry sources saying that Lockheed would be supplying 12 C-130J and Boeing would be building a handful of their giant C-17 airlifters.
It is thought there are options for further C-130Js in the yet-to-be signed agreement.
The agreements are the second success for the Boeing/Lockheed combination in the region in the last few months.
Last year, Qatar signed a deal covering four C-130Js and a clutch of C-17s. The number of Boeing aircraft has never been officially confirmed but is said by analysts to be two aircraft. (defensenews)
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