During the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2019, which was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the UAE government spent close to $5.4 billion on weapons and military hardware contracts.

According to reports from the UAE government, the deals that were signed involved firms from across to globe, including Chinese, Russian, French, British, Turkish, Pakistani, South African, German, and American companies. The clear winners in terms of contract value were the U.S. firms Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, which signed a deal for the Patriot air defense system worth $1.9 billion.

Before the sale is approved, however, it must be cleared by the State Department, and by Congress, which has veto power over any arms deal involving U.S. companies. Realistically, the deal won’t face any problems other than taking more time than the UAE government would want. UAE diplomats and military leaders have repeatedly wailed about the protracted process for approving weapons and ammunition purchases. They have requested that Washington and Abu Dhabi sign an agreement that would expedite future contracts. There are two ways to achieve that: either the UAE must be designated as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA), or the UAE must be designated as a key defense partner.

UAE representatives assert the country would like to work out a mechanism with the United States under which requests for munitions and arms purchases could receive expedited U.S. consideration.