The recent announcement that Britain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed a defense partnership, which could include military sales from BAE (BA.L), EADS (EADS: NV), and Finmeccanica (FNC.MI) indicates that Britain is seeking to strengthen economic as well as diplomatic ties with its Middle Eastern partners to facilitate regional security and to counter the growing threat of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to the region also focused on addressing recent diplomatic dustups, which have called into question some of Britain’s energy investments in the region, specifically British Petroleum oil concessions in the UAE. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to the region was intended to focus on economic and defense interests. Even so, discussion also included the continuing violence in Syria, potentially arming the Syrian rebels, as well effective strategies to counter perceived threats to regional stability.
Last week, Cameron and his counterparts in the UAE announced that a defense agreement had been reached. In a joint statement, the two countries announced that they had established “a defence industrial partnership” focused on enhancing collaboration regarding the Typhoon fighter jet as well as additional technologies of interest. The Typhoon, also known as the Eurofighter, is a multirole jet aircraft comparable to the US F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightening, but it lacks significant stealth capabilities. Reports indicate that Cameron was pushing to secure a deal for at least 60 Eurofighters at a cost of nearly $9.5 billion. However, neither the UK nor the UAE indicated that a purchase order had been signed.