United Arab Emirates

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has never elaborated its views on cluster munitions or commented on its position on joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The UAE participated in the convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in August–September 2022, yet abstained from the vote on a key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

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

Policy

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 at several meetings of the convention, most recently the Tenth Meeting of States Parties held in Geneva in August–September 2022, where it did not make a statement.[2]

In December 2022, the UAE abstained from voting on a key UNGA resolution that urged states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions “to join as soon as possible.”[3] The UAE has abstained from voting on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

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 has a stockpile of ground-fired cluster munition rockets and missiles, as well as air-delivered bombs from Turkey, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US).

The UAE purchased an unknown number of CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons from the US in 2010.[4]

Following US sales 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, while each rocket contains 644 M77 dual-purpose improved conventional munition [DPICM] submunitions), and 130 M30 GMLRS DPICM rocket pods.[5]

The UAE received 1,800 CBU-87 bombs (each containing 202 BLU-97 submunitions) from the US in 1999.[6] The UAE also received 3,020 TRK-122 122mm unguided cluster munition rockets, each containing 56 M85 DPICM submunitions, from Turkey in 2006–2007.[7]

According to Jane’s Information Group, the UAE Air Force possesses UK-made BL-755 bombs and has received Hydra-70 air-to-surface rockets. However, it is not known if these include the M261 multipurpose submunition variant.[8] The UAE is also reported to possess Soviet-made 122mm Type-90 and 300mm Smerch surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if they contain submunition payloads.[9]

During the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) military trade fair held in Abu Dhabi in February 2017, defense companies from Egypt and Russia advertised cluster munitions for sale.[10]

Use

In 2011, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told the Monitor that the UAE has never used or produced cluster munitions.[11]

The UAE participated in a Saudi Arabia-led joint military operation in Yemen, against Ansar Allah (Houthi) forces, which used cluster munitions in 2015–2017.

 



[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, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beirut, 15 September 2011.

[2] The UAE also participated as an observer at the Meetings of States Parties held in 2011 and 2017–2019.

[3]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.

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

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

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

[7] Turkey, United Nations (UN) Register of Conventional Arms, Submission for Calendar Year 2006, 22 March 2007; and Turkey, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Submission for Calendar Year 2007, 7 July 2008.

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

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

[10] For more details, see ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Egypt: Cluster Munition Ban Policy,” updated 4 September 2020; and ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Russia: Cluster Munition Ban Policy,” updated 17 May 2022.

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