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The UAE today

Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2011, 14:55
by Thecrewdog
My opinion of the UAE is one of many, and should be read as just that…and opinion. It’s very simple… If you plan before coming, accept it for what it ultimately is (a job), and look for opportunities to excel no matter what anyone tells you, it is a good place to work. You will find frustration in any job that you take; however, this job presents challenges of a different kind. If you’ve worked in the Middle East, you know some of these challenges. Just remember to never compare what the locals do to what you must do. They pay us to be here. It really doesn’t matter what they do on a daily basis. It’s sort of like trying to tell your boss that he doesn’t do as much as you. Would you do that? Never… So keep this in mind when making your choice.

I am speaking from experience. This can be a good place to work. Do not, however, underestimate the power of the buddy system here. As with any location, there are groups of people who have come from various locations. Within those groups of people, there are leaders who make choices about where people work. This place is no different, and it shouldn’t be frowned upon. The buddy system has created a strong workforce for Lockheed at this location. Your best bet, if you choose to come here, is to keep your head down if you do not know anyone, get a feel for the environment and people around you, do as little complaining as possible while still getting your problems fixed, and give it 100%.

Another subject is the amount of time that one has worked at this location. It plays a large part in some of the decisions made about you. To me, this is disappointing; however, after you’ve been here for a while, you may better understand it. It’s sort of like going to battle with a group of people who have already been in the battle for a long while. You’ve got to prove yourself to those around you. You’ve got to gain their respect by doing your job well and letting them trust that you have their backs when the stuff hits the fan. It’s as simple as that. I’ve worked with Lockheed for a few years now, and was placed on the flightline, launching and recovering jets when I arrived. I have many years with varying depths of experience on the F-16. It really doesn’t matter. Just accept that you will more than likely be working directly with the locals while launching and recovering jets if you are APG. If you are weapons, you’ll probably enjoy your job very much. Other backshops and specialties seem to like it as well. APG personnel seem to have a more difficult time with this location because it is perhaps more challenging to do their job here.

The supervisors are very likeable, kind men. As with all men, they have their faults. Overall, they are looking out for the best interests of the mission here. They have goals to achieve just like any other supervisor. They make choices based on personal preference and what they have to work with, while also being a leader on the frontline for the company. It is my advice to allow them to get to know you, while not boring them with the bullet statements on your resume. I personally like the people in charge here. Never misunderstand that this is anything other than a difficult place to work. By doing this, you may better understand some of the decisions made by those above you. They are simply doing their jobs the best that they can with people they know (and have probably worked with at other locations). We all have opinions about what our leaders should do. Keep them to yourself. They are your opinions and rarely take into consideration those things which we do not see that are going on behind the scenes. My advice to anyone who makes the choice to come here is to put your blinders on. Look forward and not around you. Do what you have been trained to do and do not worry about the others. If you do this, you may eventually be rewarded with a position that you have longed to be in. If you do not do this, you will certainly become extremely frustrated.

There are, and will be, opportunities in the future here. You must be at the right place, know the right people, and make the right choices to get them just as if you were working for any other company. It is up to you as to how much you like this place. It is up to you as to how long you are here, and how well you do here. If you are a person who excels, who does the right thing when others around you may not, and who accepts this place for what it is, you should have no problem.

We are currently living in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. There are plans to move people to a different location. I will not give too much information on this because it is not my place to do so, and everyone looks at this site for information…

Housing – 1 or 2 (mostly 2) bedroom, 1 or 2 bath, fully furnished (not my choice of furniture but it does the job) flats. You have the flat to yourself. You do not share it. They are typical Middle Eastern concrete flats with tile floors. There are many places where you can live. It depends on what is open when/if you get here. If you do not like the flat that you are given when you get here, you may move; however, you will be on a list with other people who also want to move. Your seniority will play a part in when you are allowed to move. Electricity is paid. Internet is not. It may take some time once you move to get it set up. Be patient. It will drive you crazy. Internet will cost you anywhere from $50 to $150 per month, depending on your choice of packages.

Rental cars – You are paid an amount for renting a car and for fuel. I’m not sure how much your contract will allow you for this. That’s up to Lockheed. Rental cars cost no less than $500.00 per month. Others may disagree with this; however, I have looked since arriving and have not found anything less. Fuel is somewhat cheap. While driving from Al Ain to work in a small car, you’ll use about $13.00 per day of fuel. It’s best for many to carpool. The plans for new housing would allow us to live closer to work, thereby cutting fuel costs. You can buy a car after you get your residence visa. This will take at least 30 days to get. You cannot leave the country for those 30 days. Keep this in mind. You may also get a loan for a car. I haven’t done this, but some have with success. It’s your choice.

Location – Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai all offer nice parks, expensive malls, places to eat, and things to do. Keep in mind that the UAE likes to keep its money here. I can’t blame them. Just remember, it is costly to do the fun stuff. You can, however, go to the beach cheaply. : )

APO – We do not currently have APO privileges, and I do not believe that we ever will again. Someone messed it up for the group a while back. There are other ways to get your stuff mailed here. We have pouch service to a PO Box, and you can even go through a company to set up a service which delivers packages from the States to your door. It’s expensive, but it seems to be working for some of the guys. Most generally, you can find everything you need here. You can buy clothes, baby things, electronics, food, and much more at every mall. The grocery stores in the malls have many American items. They are reasonably priced. On average, I spend $150 per week. I’m living here alone and do enjoy buying some things which are somewhat expensive to eat.

Spouse and visa – Your spouse can join you, however, it comes out of your pocket. This includes her visa, etc. The visa will cost approx. $500 in total per person. Do not quote me on this. It changes a lot. If your wife is an American citizen, you will need a marriage certificate which is authenticated by the Secretary of State for the state in which you were married and the Secretary of State in the U.S. State Dept., with Hillary Clinton’s signature on it. There are companies which will help you with this. It is costly (around $500 to have them do it) or you can try to do it yourself. My advice…go with the professionals and get it done quickly and GET IT DONE BEFORE YOU LEAVE. They will even send it to the UAE embassy in the States to have it authenticated by them. This has caught a lot of people off guard, and is the cause of much frustration for many who choose to bring their spouses here without being informed first. There are those who get it taken care of it before coming because they were informed. I’m informing you now. If you wait until you get here you will pay for it with time, money, and frustration.

If you spouse is from another country, you must look up the requirements for that country. Some countries (33) are allowed to enter the UAE without getting a visa before coming. There are also countries which require a visa before coming. The requirements do change for visas and I do not wish to send you in the wrong direction. Your best bet is to do your research and gather all of your paperwork before coming. This process is being worked on by some people here with Lockheed, but, it is not at all simple and there is little that they can do except process the paperwork for the visa when it is all completed.

Children are another challenge. If your children are U.S. citizens, you’ll need their birth certificate authenticated as well. If they are not U.S. citizens, get their citizenship before coming if it is possible. What I have outlined here are the basic processes for residence visas. If you can arrive with all of the needed paperwork in hand, you may be able to obtain your spouse/children’s visas with little frustration.

Positive things about the UAE:

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are centrally located for your R&R’s. You can travel to many locations rather cheaply from here. You will undoubtedly enjoy your vacations.
It is said that the country is compiled of 85% ex-pats and 15% Emirates. This makes it a fairly open country to western habits.
With as much money as you will make, you may be able to buy your dream car here. You will surely see one of them driving down the road one day.
Once you find your place at work, you’ll find friends. Friends are important here, for both you and your wife/children.
There are some great places to eat with cuisines from around the globe. You can even buy pork at a pork store in Al Ain. It’s small, but the selection is tasty!
You can save A LOT of money if you are disciplined.
The sun shines nearly every day of the year.
The beaches are beautiful.
The dynamics of our work environment are changing because of the number of new openings just approved. This should create a better work environment for the months and years to come.

I think I've said enough. It's your choice. I hear that they are hiring. : )

Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2011, 19:28
by VarkVet
Very nice write-up ... about the best I have seen for that AOR!

What's the status on Alcohol and Women? I think alot of crew dawgs would be curious.


Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2011, 19:33
by mc5wes
Also any information about pay and benefits would be nice.


Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2011, 21:06
by discofishing
Just out of curiosity, who takes care of their Apache helicopters?


Unread postPosted: 27 Aug 2011, 23:20
by VarkVet
mc5wes wrote:Also any information about pay and benefits would be nice.

I agree :lol:


Unread postPosted: 28 Aug 2011, 01:11
by Thecrewdog
First of all, I would like to say that we are here as ambassadors for Lockheed Martin. As such, even us Crew Dawgs must put forth our best efforts to maintain a level of professionalism which is conducive to good business, even while off duty. Having said this, I do realize that some require a release from the frustrations of daily life in a country that is not our own. The UAE offers places for such releases. There are places to consume alcohol. There are also places to purchase it and take it home. It’s reasonably priced considering where we are. On any given weekend, “the guys” may get together at someone’s flat to have a BBQ and partake of beverages.

Women are not difficult to find here. I am married, and have not looked for a relationship of any kind. I cannot go into details about the women here because of this. I do know that some have found fruitful relationships, while others have had casual friendships. There are some beautiful women here from many countries, although men do outnumber them. Bring your shiny shoes, custom-fitted suits, and a great attitude to catch their attention. Enough said.

Your pay is what you are offered by Lockheed. I do know that pay was recently increased. I believe it starts at just over $25 per hour for most with per diem, car allowance, and fuel added. Keep in mind that this is tax free up to an amount around $94,000.00 - $97,000.00. I can’t remember the exact number. It’s best to contact a CPA for that information. Also keep in mind that you will be taxed on the amount of money that Lockheed pays for your flat, etc. This may sound terrible; however, the fact of the matter is that I received a $1600.00 tax RETURN last year with nothing to claim on my taxes. Do not try and read too deeply into the numbers. Taxes will be taken out of your paycheck beginning in November of each year. You may see as much as a $600.00 per week drop in your paycheck during this time. It depends on how many exemptions you are claiming. It sounds scary, but it’s not. Prepare for it, and it’s no big deal. Don’t prepare for it, and you will probably be eating grilled cheese sandwiches for a month or so.

You’ll be bringing in about $1600 (or so) per week! That’s the bottom line. You’ll receive $2200.00, four months after arriving. This is for your special leave (R&R). You’ll receive the same before the year is up, for your home leave. Lastly, you’ll receive a bonus at the end of the year which will go up each year that you stay here. Remove money for food, internet, phone, car, gas and what you have left is enough money to consider coming here for. I’ve outlined these expenses in my initial posting. Get out a calculator and see if it is worth it for you. It is for me. I’m now debt free…

Insurance is cheap, as far as I’m concerned. I have health, life, dental, and vision insurance for me and my family. It costs from $10 to $80 per week, depending on what you want and your level of coverage. I pay about $50 for me and my family.

I hope that this information helps you with your decision. It is only a rough estimate of amounts, dates, etc. Do not quote me on them. I do my best to be honest and straight forward to all who read this. We need to maintain an outstanding workforce here in the UAE. I have read many negative postings which may keep those good people from making the choice to come here in the future. My information is unbiased and without concealed motives. I have had more than my share of frustrations here. Much of this frustration was due to lack of information from those “on the ground.” This is the reasoning for my post. It is not because I was fired or am looking for a promotion. It’s simply because it all needs to be said so that we can continue to gain intelligent, experienced, and motivated people for this site.

As for the Apache’s….I wouldn’t know. I’m a hardcore F-16 Crew Chief. Apache’s are slow and ugly if you ask me. I’m kidding… I do realize that they play a part in the mission, albeit a tedious…and…boring one. Furthermore, I know which company is the best to work for over here. I’ve been working for them for a little over four years now. You’ll have to go to another site or posting for Apache information. Sorry. :cheers:


Unread postPosted: 28 Aug 2011, 01:35
by Thecrewdog
In addition to the above, I would like to say that if you do not work for Lockheed, would like to get your foot in the door, wish to gain experience on a block 60, and/or need to pay off some debt, this place could be for you. If you are an angry person, holding in frustration, it is in your best interest to look elsewhere. Your integrity, work ethics, fortitude, and resolve may be tested here; however, the payoff for never faltering in your values and morals could be extremely beneficial to a long and prosperous career with what I consider to be the best company in military aviation.


Unread postPosted: 28 Aug 2011, 05:03
by geogen
I must say that was one heck of an eloquent sales pitch for such a career move and opportunity. Well done and good luck to continue gaining the intelligent, experienced and motivated crew required for the site spoken of.

Now if they were only looking to hire personal trainers... man, I'd definitely have to give that one a thought in applying for. ;)

My entire work/health moral as it is, job wise, is about cutting fat and building muscle, which come to think of it interestingly... could well personify the block 60 as well! :thumb:


Unread postPosted: 28 Aug 2011, 10:12
by Thecrewdog
Geogen -

The first question which came to my mind after reading your reply was, “Why is a personal trainer so enthusiastic about the F-16?” Then I realized that “cutting fat and building muscle” is something that Lockheed Martin has attempted to do by employing Six Sigma practices. It is used to cut the fat and build muscle! Six Sigma is defined by Wikipedia as “a set of practices designed to improve manufacturing processes and eliminate defects.” Furthermore, “In Six Sigma, a defect is defined as any process output that does not meet customer specifications, or that could lead to creating an output that does not meet customer specifications.” With this said, I believe that your practices are in line with our practices. Lockheed Martin is a huge company. There may be a position out there for you to consider. :thumb:


Unread postPosted: 29 Aug 2011, 18:53
by cheez_1
All that info is very useful thank you. Just wondering if you possibly would know if they are hiring or any open positions for weapons loaders or weapons(armament)backshop. I'm a prior weapons loader and backshop guy. Got somewhat close a few times but never heard anything back and when i got ahold of the global hiring manager ther positions were already filled...any info would be greatly appreciated...and thanks again


Unread postPosted: 29 Aug 2011, 19:02
by Thecrewdog
I believe that all of the weapons positions are filled. I'm not sure how many were added with the new plus-up, if any. Again, I will check to see after the holiday. Unfortunately for you, the weapons guys seem to be VERY happy at this location. When asked, they say "I'm never leaving," or, "I'm not leaving for a loooong time." This is just what I've heard. Things change weekly here, so I can only check on the current need. Best of luck to you.


Unread postPosted: 30 Aug 2011, 02:05
by p0intyhead
Like others have stated, well spoken Crewdog. I myself worked that program for a while, and although I moved to another it has been tempting to return to it. It is a great opportunity and given the quality of life much better than some other programs out there right now.

You summed up most everything nicely, but I would like to add just a couple of notes for those inquiring about "women and alcohol"... yes, there are women here. Yes, most of the time the locals will turn a blind eye to the activities that go on between us (in private). But keep in mind this is still a Muslim country following Sharia Law and there has been more than one occassion where a man finds himself deported, fined, or in jail for getting stupid with women here.

Alcohol is similar. You can purchase a license to buy and drink alcohol. It runs approx $100 for a year. Most of the liquor stores here won't ask a westerner for the license unless he is being a pain, but if you get caught buying, transporting, or drinking without on you will be in jail. Even if you are sober and in a car accident here with alcohol in your trunk but without a license, the accident becomes your fault and then you go to jail as well. And don't even think of getting spotted intoxicated in public.

It's pretty simple really. Don't be the typical American: loud and beligerant in public and you'll get along well here.


Unread postPosted: 30 Aug 2011, 11:13
by Thecrewdog
Thank you for the compliment and your valuable input pOintyhead. After posting the information above, I’ve thought about revising some of my statements, such as the ones that you have added to. Instead, however, I believe that this posting would be better served by extruding comments from those who are currently here, and those who have previously worked here. In doing so, we may collectively paint an honest, and up to date, portrait for those who may seek employment at this location. Furthermore, this portrait would be one of collaborative efforts, rather than from the pallet of one man’s opinion.

I believe that if you should someday choose to return to this location you will lay witness to a change. This change is inevitable, and occurs at every location over time. You may be aware of the fact that every location presents its challenges during infancy. As the days, months, and years pass, site managers gain the insight, tools, and resources needed to improve the location. Changes are made to processes, personnel, and even equipment, allowing the location to improve exponentially over time. This place is no different, and is changing with time. Is it perfect? No, it is not. It is, however, changing for the better as it grows and transforms into the well tuned, well oiled machine that someone from Lockheed Martin envisioned years ago. It is only through the “filtering effect” of employees and processes that we can continue this change for the better.

As you may also understand, while being a self proclaimed “pointyhead,” a mathematical equation may be used here as we filter out those people/processes which may make this place negative. Bear with me here. I’ve never written down this theory before and am not a mathematician… By using the formula f(x)=(a positive or negative place to work), we can see that for every value of “x” we create a more positive or negative environment. While finding the factors of f(x), we are able to manipulate zero points on a graph to position the vertex of people, working conditions, etc. into the first quadrant (both x and y positive). A real number (those who have worked here or currently do work here/processes used) combined with an imaginary number (those who may choose to come here/hypothetical processes) create a complex number (example: 2+1i). It is through mathematical methods that we deduce (example) f(x) = x3-2x2+4x-8 when (2i) is given as a zero, that x=2, x=2i, and x=-2i. Knowing this, we can then manipulate the vertex(s) by flipping, mirroring, reflecting, and/or rotating it/them into the favorable quadrant. (my exponents are not showing up on here correctly)

Because we have unknowns (i), we are never able to predict precisely a positive or negative vertex, as complex numbers always appear in conjugate pairs. Because of this, we can simply “do our best” to force a positive outcome by knowing the (i) factor as well as possible. It is my belief that as time passes, the (i) becomes more clearly defined, although never completely so. Through education about the working environment here, personnel changes, housing location, increases in income and benefits, etc. we are able to filter out those (i)’s who would bring a negative change rather than a positive one. As you can see from older posts, some of the negative (i)’s have already been filtered…

I realize that this may be a bit much for some to read; however, this information may be my feeble attempt to show how much thought is going into the process of making changes at this location. I am only one employee; however, a positive outlook can go a long way while attempting to make changes. I would appreciate any elaboration on the subject, and welcome any comments.


Unread postPosted: 30 Aug 2011, 16:19
by cheez_1
Thanks again crewdog for that info, that would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to whatever info you can give me. Yeah i here that about the weapons guy's especially, the arm shop...i use to be stationed with a guy who was actually tasked with a bunch of civilians to build up there Armament shop from ground up all equipment and everything and he said he wants to work there when he retires, so i believe it...thanks again.



Unread postPosted: 04 Sep 2011, 21:37
by Thecrewdog
Okay Gentlemen, here is an update to the positions which are available. Please, keep in mind that you must have F-16 experience to be considered. There was a time when F-15 mechanics were hired due to their fighter aircraft experience; however, this (from what I am told) is not going to happen again in the near future. Please read the requirements on the Lockheed Martin careers web page to see if you meet them.

Please send your resume to Travis Brookes: If you have any questions that I have not answered in my post, please contact Travis. There is a filtering process for hiring that can be rather lengthy. Give it some time. I’m sure that Travis will forward your resume if you meet the requirements outlined for the position.

I’m sorry cheese 1, but there are no weapons positions open at this time. As I stated previously, they like it here very much. Check the website often and keep Travis’ email address just in case a position should open in the future.



As I stated previously, this site is changing for the better. With newer apartments, more people, shorter drives to work, and a more understanding management, this place could be at the top of the list of best places to work in the near future. I do know that the site manager is taking notes and making corrections as he sees fit. With input from his L3's, he is molding it into a better place to work. In order for this change to continue, we need to add intelligent, experienced professionals such as you. Good luck to all of you who apply.