United Arab Emirates

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 08 July 2019

Summary: The UAE has never elaborated its views on cluster munitions or commented on its position on accession to the convention. It has participated in meetings of the convention, most recently in 2017. The UAE abstained from the vote on a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2018.

The UAE is not known to have produced cluster munitions, but it has imported them, possesses a stockpile, and may have used them.


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

The UAE has never made a public statement elaborating its views on cluster munitions or its position on joining the convention. [1]

The UAE did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the convention.

The UAE has participated as an observer in meetings of the convention, most recently the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2018. [2] It did not make a statement at the meeting.

In December 2018, the UAE abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that urges states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions “to join as soon as possible.” [3] The UAE did not explain why it has abstained from voting on the annual UNGA resolution promoting implementation of the convention since 2015.

The UAE has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2018. [4]

The UAE is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

The UAE is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions.

The UAE imported cluster munitions and possesses a stockpile of ground-fired cluster munitions rockets and missiles as well as air-delivered bombs from the United States (US) as well as from Turkey and the United Kingdom (UK).

The UAE purchased an unknown number of CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons, valued at US$57 million, in 2010. [5] Under US sales of cluster munitions announced in 2006, the UAE received 101 M39A1 ATACMS missiles (each containing 300 M74 submunitions), 104 M26 multiple launch rocket system (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. [6] The UAE received 1,800 CBU-87 bombs (each containing 202 BLU-97 submunitions) from the US in 1999. [7] The UAE received 3,020 TRK-122 122mm unguided cluster munition rockets, each containing 56 M85 DPICM submunitions, from Turkey in 2006–2007. [8]

According to Jane’s Information Group, the UAE Air Force possesses British-made BL755 bombs and it has received Hydra-70 air-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if they include the M261 multipurpose submunition variant. [9] The UAE is also reported to possess 122mm Type-90 and 300mm Smerch surface-to-surface rocket launchers made in the Soviet Union, but it is not known if it possesses rockets with submunition payloads. [10]

Companies from Egypt and Russia advertised cluster munitions for sale during the IDEX international military trade fair in Abu Dhabi in February 2017. [11]


In 2011, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told the Monitor that the UAE has never used or produced cluster munitions. [12]

Since March 2015, the UAE has participated in a Saudi Arabia-led joint military operation in Yemen against Houthi forces, also known as Ansar Allah, which has used cluster munitions.

 [1] Officials from the UAE have commented favorably on the convention during meetings with campaigners. In 2001, a UAE representative expressed support for the humanitarian aspects of the convention and said the government was studying its position on accession. Interview with Amb. Faris Mohammed al-Mazroui, Assistant for Security and Military Affairs, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Beirut, 15 September 2011.

 [2] The UAE participated as an observer at the Meetings of States Parties in 2011 and 2017.

 [3]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 73/54, 5 December 2018.

 [4]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 73/182, 17 December 2018. The UAE voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2017.

 [5] The contract for the sale was signed in November 2007. Textron Inc., “Q2 2010 Earnings Call,” 21 July 2010; and Textron Defense Systems, “Textron Defense Systems and UAE Armed Forces Sign Sensor Fuzed Weapon Contract,” press release, 13 November 2007. 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.

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

 [7] US DSCA, “Notifications to Congress of Pending US Arms Transfers,” November 1999.

 [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] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 847; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal, CD-edition, 14 December 2007 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).

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

 [11] See Egypt and Russia’s Cluster Munition Monitor profiles for details.

 [12] Interview with Amb. al-Mazroui, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Beirut, 15 September 2011.