Washington: The US has inked a USD 3.48 million arms deal that includes sale of as many as 96 missiles to crucial Middle East ally UAE, as Washington gears up for increased tensions in the region with Iran.

While the announcement of the deal came yesterday, at a time of increased tension with Iran, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement that the deal was inked on December 25 when the US and UAE signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for a Foreign Military Sales-configured
Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System, valued at approximately USD 3.48 billion.

The announcement came within days of another USD 30 million arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and also close on the heels of the sale of Patriot missiles to Kuwait, the other two staunch US allies in the region.

"This contract will deliver 2 THAAD batteries, 96 missiles, two AN/TPY-2 radars, and 30 years of spare parts, support, and training with contractor logistics support to the UAE," Little said.

The US and the UAE enjoy a strong bilateral defence relationship, driven by common interests in a secure and stable Gulf region, he said.

Little said acquisition of this critical defence system will bolster the UAE's air and missile defence capability and enhance the already robust ballistic missile defence cooperation between the United States and the UAE.

"This sale is an important step in improving the region's security through a regional missile defence architecture, and follows a number of recent ballistic missile defence-related sales, including a 2011 USD 1.7 billion direct commercial sales contract to upgrade Saudi Arabia's Patriot missiles to the PAC 3 configuration, and the 2011 sale of 209 Patriot GEM-T missiles to Kuwait, valued at approximately USD 900 million," Little said.

(Agencies)