UAE celebrates Armed Forces Unification Day

UAE celebrates Armed Forces Unification Day
Abu Dhabi, May 5th, 2006 (WAM) - The United Arab Emirates will celebrate tomorrow the 30th anniversary of the armed forces' unification day.

On May 6th 1976, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his brothers the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates agreed to unify the armed forces under a single banner to become one of the main pillars of the federation.

Throughout the past 30 years, the UAE has been able to build a modern army capable of confronting all challenges and defending the nation's achievements thanks to the unlimited support by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President and Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces.

Building the nation's army was not an easy task. The remarkable progress made by the armed forces came a result of tireless efforts and a comprehensive long-term strategy of the country's leadership.

"I am proud of the tremendous progress being made by our armed forces in keeping pace with the latest military technology," Sheikh Khalifa said during an inspection visit he made to Al Dhafra Airbase last July.

Sheikh Khalifa reiterated UAE's keenness to equip its armed forces with the latest weapons and technical supplies to continue its role of defending the nation and to contribute in maintaining global peace.

The armed forces continued the quest of preparing a qualified and capable national cadre. To achieve that, a number of military institutions have been established to provide military education and knowledge to its personnel. They include Joint Command and Staff College, Zayed the 2nd Military Academy, Naval College, Khalifa Air College, Technical Studies Institute, UK-based Technical Training Project, Nursing School and others.

"Our military doctrine is basically reliant on equipping our personnel with knowledge. In today's world, one needs knowledge to deal with different trends in armament," General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in a statement made on graduation of new batch from Zayed Military Academy.

"Military training, he went on, "has seen tremendous progress with the introduction of simulators in combating operations training." Thanks to the continuous support of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the UAE woman has become an integral part of the UAE Armed Forces.

The Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School was created in 1991 to enable UAE woman serve her country by joining the armed forces.

Sheikh Mohammed outlined the country's armament programme which focuses on acquiring modern air force technology and multi-purpose aircraft.

"Today, we crown years of studying, research and evaluation to select an aircraft that fits to our 21st century requirements," Sheikh Mohammed said during a ceremony held to celebrate first delivery of F 16 Block 60 aircraft.

Externally, the UAE Armed Forces have been active in supporting other nations and contributing in solving international crises.

The country's armed forces participated in the Arab peacekeeping force in Lebanon to avert civil war there.

Other operations include Kuwait liberation's 'Operation Desert Storm', 'Operation Hope' in Somalia and 'Operation Helping Hand' in Albania to resettle thousands of Kosovar refugees.

In October 2001, UAE and Lebanon signed an agreement to implement a 50 million US Dollars project to clear the mine fields laid by the Israelis in South Lebanon.

The Armed Forces was also instrumental in helping efforts for Iraq reconstruction.

Recently, the UAE Armed Forces launched a massive operation to help survivors of devastating earthquake which hit Pakistan.

A field hospital was erected to provide treatment to 500-1000 patients daily. Many seriously injured survivors were airlifted to Al Bateen Airbase in Abu Dhabi to get intensive medical care at the Zayed military Hospital.

Water purification plants were also set up to provide clean drinking water in the hard-hit areas.