Due to recent missile attacks by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates will receive fifth-generation fighter jets and a guided-missile destroyer from the United States. The partnership has been confirmed by the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin. 

Over a phone call, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Abu bin Zayed Al Nahyan was told by Washington’s top military official that the Pentagon was sending “the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole to partner with the UAE Navy before making a port call in Abu Dhabi.”

Austin also stated that a fifth-generation fighter aircraft would be deployed by Washington. The category of jets includes the US-made F-35 Lightning II combat jets and the F-22 Raptor. The readout of the conversation shared by the Pentagon states that this machinery is being sent to “assist against the current threat.”

The deployment, Austin asserted, is a “clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a longstanding strategic partner.”

Jen Psaki, White House spokesperson, has said that the announcement comes in light of the UAE experiencing its third missile attack in recent weeks. The United States had deployed the Patriot interceptors to derail it. The Pentagon later confirmed that UAE’s surface-to-air missiles successfully knocked down the incoming missile. 

Since 2015, the Houthis haven’t been targeting the UAE in a major way since the country does not border Yemen directly. As part of a Saudi-led military coalition supporting the country’s internationally-recognized government, the Houthis began fighting in Yemen instead. However, on January 17, a strategic shift was observed in the rebel group as they attacked the UAE.

A drone-and-missile assault hit Abu Dhabi’s airport and oil facilities, and three foreign workers lost their lives. On January 24, Patriot interceptors were also fired by US forces at Abu Dhabi’s al-Dhafra airbase.