UK defence sales to the United Arab Emirates, including Hawk aircraft

FCO 8/3922 1981 Jan 01 - 1981 Dec 31

This file concerns HMG’s efforts to secure defence contracts, including the sale of Hawk training aircraft to the UAE. It contains correspondence and memoranda concerning:

  • The difficulty in securing an appointment to discuss sales with Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (UAEAF) Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
  • Efforts to deliver a letter by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hurd setting out proposals for a sale to Sheikh Khalifa
  • Advice on tactics from the Ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s military advisor General Awad Al Khalidi
  • A request for a visit by an Abu Dhabi Air Force team to the UK to observe RAF training methods
  • The intervention of the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the sales effort during her visit to the UAE
  • Sheikh Khalifa’s insistence on the deal being undertaken on a government-to-government basis
  • Competition with France for the contracts
  • A request for the purchase of eight Hawk by Dubai; the possible effects on a contract with Abu Dhabi
  • Concerns that the coverage of Abu Dhabi’s interest in Hawk in the British press might undermine a deal
  • The visits of ministers and negotiators, including that of K P Jeffs of MOD Sales

This file also contains correspondence and memoranda concerning:

  • A possible sale of landing craft
  • A visit to Abu Dhabi by a consortium promoting electronic warfare equipment
  • Assurances of HMG’s continued commitment to Oman’s defence interests
  • Contractual changes between International Military Services Limited and the government of Abu Dhabi for the supply of field engineering equipment
  • A proposed visit to the UAE by the Duke of Kent
  • Sheikh Khalifa’s interest in attack aircraft, aircraft shelters, armoured vehicles, artillery, and air defence equipment from the UK
  • A proposed visit by representatives of Westland Helicopters Limited
  • The effect of US defence sales on Britain’s ability to maintain its defence commitments in the Gulf
  • Briefing notes for the proposed sale of Hawk to Saudi Arabia; missiles to Qatar; tanks to Kuwait; and communications systems for the Arab Space Satellite Communication Project (ARABSAT)
  • The visit by Defence Secretary John Nott to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain, and reportage in Al Azmina Al Arabia