The UAE has become the world's fourth largest arms importer with its total spending put at Dh23.9 billion ($6.5 billion). The emirates even surged ahead of Israel, which was in sixth place, said a report.
The nearest Arab country was Egypt, in the 15th place, with $2.5 billion in imports, the National reported.
Only China, India, and South Korea spent more, the report said citing the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which for 44 years has tracked armaments and military spending.
The US is by far the biggest supplier of arms to the UAE followed by France. The majority of the UAE's spending is on aircraft from the US and France, followed by missiles and air defence systems, the report said.
From 2005 to 2009, the UAE received deliveries of 34 Mirage 2000 combat aircraft from France and 72 F-16 fighters from the US, the report added.
The UAE plans to strengthen its position as a top importer with the delivery of Patriot-3 surface to air missile systems as well as transport aircraft and other missile-defence systems from the US, France, and Russia.
Analysts say the purchase of the weapons systems sends a message that the country is capable of protecting its territorial integrity while confirming that its posture is defensive.