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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 05, 2000

     Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore today congratulated

Lockheed Martin and the United Arab Emirates on Sunday's announcement from Abu Dhabi that they have completed terms on the sale of 80 F-16 fighter jets to the UAE -- finalizing a purchase announced at the White House in May of 1998 by UAE Crown Prince Khalifa and Vice President Gore.

The sale of the 80 F-16s at an estimated cost of more than $6 billion will generate -- according to company data -- 100,000 man-years of direct employment at Lockheed Martin; at Northrop Grumman, which supplies some of the F-16's most sophisticated technology; and at the hundreds of companies in 40 states who supply parts for the advanced fighter jet. At the same time, the sale will enhance the UAE's defense capability and the U.S.-UAE security partnership.

"This sale is just the latest in a long line of acknowledgments of the skill, ingenuity, and excellence of Lockheed Martin employees and their suppliers," Vice President Gore said. "It shows us again how American mastery of high technology is essential to both advancing our economic growth and protecting our national security."

Vice President Gore was part of a White House team that encouraged the UAE to purchase the F-16 as the Gulf country was considering bids from international competitors. In May of 1998, the Vice President and Crown Prince Khalifa announced at the White House the UAE's intention to purchase 80 F-16s. That same week, the Vice President joined UAE officials at the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth to celebrate the announcement. Early this year, the Vice President was in contact with the Crown Prince during the final push for an agreement.

The sale is part of U.S. efforts to help Gulf allies defend their interests in the region. Just before Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, Saddam had threatened the UAE along with Kuwait for overproduction of petroleum. The UAE then played an integral role in the Allied coalition against Iraq.

"The UAE will reap immense national security benefits from the F-16, and from the close relationships it will bring them with the finest Air Force and finest defense contractors in the world," Vice President Gore said. "The sale also advances U.S. interests by equipping an important Gulf ally with an advanced fighter jet that can help deter aggression in the region."

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