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​DUBAI: US working to fill guided munitions shortage as conflict reigns

Ongoing conflicts in Yemen, Iraq and Syria have seen a rapid depletion of munitions inventories and the US government is stepping up its efforts to keep its partners and allies supplied.

Heidi Grant, the US Air Force under-secretary of international affairs, says US industry and the government is trying to help fill shortages where it can, while also keeping an eye on its own needs.

“We need to make sure our worldwide supply remains available for us,” she says. “There’s limitations on our stock, so there’s been requests even to turn to partners worldwide who aren’t in this regional conflict to see if we can do a transfer of munitions.

“From what I just heard, everybody’s learning very far forward. We understand how important it is for stability in the region, so we’re going to lean as far forward as we can and balance US needs with the needs of partners.”

The US state department has cleared several requests for resupply, including precision-guided munitions for the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, and ammunition for Saudi Arabia's land forces, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

US munitions producers such as Raytheon, Boeing, Textron, Lockheed Martin and others are well represented at the show, and all have already begun ramping up production capacity.

In addition to precision-guided weapons, Grant says Middle Eastern forces need more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and command-and-control capabilities, but also personnel recovery equipment and training.

Grant says the expertise for those types of operations are lacking among its regional partners and the US wants to build that capacity in the region.

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