A newly established GCC military committee held its first meeting on 12 April to discuss an ambitious plan to integrate regional air defence systems and more than double the size of the joint Peninsula Shield force. The meeting, held in Dubai and chaired by the UAE defence minister, was to follow up implementation of resolutions at the GCC summit in December in Riyadh (MEED 14:1:94).

The GCC plans to boost the size of the Saudi Arabia-based joint defence force to 17,000 men from 8,000 and integrate naval and air force units into it. Experts say the ambitious plan could take until 2000 to complete and would need considerable funding.

The plan requires member states to buy new compatible radars, missiles and automated communications, command and control (C-3) air defence systems. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have Hughes air defence systems while the UAE signed last year for a $300 million Westinghouse C-3 system.