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UAE accelerates construction of F-16 airbase

June 9, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The United Arab Emirates has accelerated construction of an air base to house its new fleet of F-16s.

Gulf defense sources said the base is expected to cost more than $1 billion. The facility is meant to house about half of the 80 F-16 block 60 aircraft the UAE will receive over the next four years.

The United States is expected to play a major role in the air base construction project. Stanley Consultants, a U.S. company, has been appointed as consultants for the construction of the base and its associated facilities to support and service the F-16s.

It is expected that this facility will be built in the western region of Abu Dhabi. It will include dual runways, terminals, hangars, satellite security systems and other related base support facilities.

The UAE has already told Washington that the U.S. Air Force will be allowed to use the new facility.