The Armed forces of the United Emirates is split into three areas: Army, Navy and Air Force.


The Emirates Armed Forces were established in 1956 to protect the nation and all its citizens. The army served in various early conflicts, including the Salalah Revolt (1958-1965) Emirates War (1960-1963). Following this military service was mandatory for all males (between the ages of 18-25) for 2 years. In 1976 women were allowed to serve in the military, mostly as nurses, doctors or reserves, though there is a very famous women’s Airforce squadron. Recently the armed forces are fighting in the Emirates War on Terror.


The Army is the largest unit of the Armed forces. In 2010 there were 55,270 men serving in the army and 9,220 women serving, though the rest of the male population can serve as reserves.

Air force

The Air force is the newest branch of the armed forces. It was founded in 1973, but only had 13 French planes from the First Vietnam War-era. The Air force was by the 1980s employing a combination of modern U.S. and European fighters and in the 1990s began to use ex-Soviet helicopters. There are presently 3730 members of the Air force and 272 planes. The most famous unit is the Ajman Air Squadron (no. 17), which is composed entirely of women.


The Emirates Navy is by far the least developed branch of the armed forces. They have only 10 large ships and about 50 patrol boats on the Persian Gulf.

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