US, UAE to join forces to stop drones before launch


A top US military commander has said they will work with the UAE to develop more effective solutions to stop drone attacks, even before they are launched.

Speaking exclusively to the national news agency WAM on Monday, General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), said they will be "working with the UAE and other regional and global partners" to make the currently used THAAD [the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system] "even better in the future".

The commander, who is on an official visit to the UAE, highlighted how the system has worked successfully and "sends a strong message of reassurance to everyone in UAE".

General McKenzie, who oversees the US forces in the Middle East, explained that they are working "to develop solutions that would work against drones. We would like to work against drones what we call 'Left of Launch,' [which means] before they can be launched".

Such a system will be able to detect the launch of drones, see them and disrupt their flight.

"And if you can't do that, you will certainly be able to shoot them down as they reach their intended target," he explained.

"In all of those areas, we're working with our friends internationally as well as with industries in the United States to become more effective at that."

General McKenzie's visit comes in the wake of missile attacks by the Houthis against civilian targets in the UAE.

He emphasised that he finds his visit "a great opportunity to assure the UAE about the continued friendship and support of the US."

Although the attacks on the UAE are very concerning to the US, "I think the UAE has one of the most professional militaries in the region. They're very well-led, and I think the UAE is a very safe and secure place," the commander stressed.

General McKenzie added that the US has "brought a destroyer in a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Cole," to "patrol the waters of the UAE". And, over the next two weeks, they will "bring in a squadron of F-22 fighter jets" to support the UAE.

"The Houthis are behaving in a reckless and irresponsible manner as they attacked the UAE and they have continued to attack the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," he said, adding that the decision to re-designate Houthis as a terrorist organisation lies with the diplomats.


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