In a telephone conversation with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also informed him that the United States Navy would dispatch the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole to work with the UAE navy ahead of a port call in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
It was announced in a press release that “the secretary also informed the crown prince of his intention to deploy fifth-generation fighter aircraft to assist the UAE against the current danger and to send a clear statement that the United States stands with the UAE as a long-standing strategic partner.”
After intercepting a missile during an official visit by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, the United Arab Emirates on Monday claimed responsibility for a third such strike in two weeks by an Iran-aligned group that is engaged in a battle with a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE.
A week earlier, the United States military announced that it had launched several Patriot missile interceptors at two inbound missiles that the Houthis claimed they had fired at the UAE’s al-Dhafra airbase, according to the military.
The UAE’s ambassador to the United Nations stated last week that the country was considering upgrading its defensive capabilities and that it was in talks with the United States.
Austin informed Sheikh Mohammed, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, that the United States would continue to provide early warning intelligence and collaborate on air defence.
The strikes on the United Arab Emirates, which serves as a business and tourism hub for the area, mark an escalation in the Yemen war, in which the Houthi rebels have launched missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia on numerous occasions.
The coalition engaged in Yemen in March 2015 when the Houthis took control of the capital, Sanaa, and forced the government to flee.