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US to proceed with proposed F-35 aircraft sale to UAE

15 Apr 2021 (Last Updated April 15th, 2021 16:57)

A US State Department spokesperson said the administration will proceed with the proposed F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft sale to the UAE.

US to proceed with proposed F-35 aircraft sale to UAE
A US Air Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in flight. Credit: USAF / Master Sgt Donald R Allen.

A US State Department spokesperson said the administration will proceed with the proposed F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft sale to the UAE.

In January, the Biden administration said it was reviewing the sale and temporarily halted implementation of the estimated $23bn sale.

The sale package includes 50 F-35 aircraft, 18 MQ-9B unmanned aerial systems (UASs), and various air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.

The spokesperson told CNN: “We can confirm that that the administration intends to move forward with these proposed defence sales to the UAE, even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have developed mutual understandings with respect to Emirati obligations before, during, and after delivery.

“The estimated delivery dates on these sales, if implemented, are scheduled for after 2025 or later. Thus, we anticipate a robust and sustained dialogue with the UAE to any defence transfers meet our mutual strategic objectives to build a stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partnership.”

The deal, which will take place through the foreign military sale (FMS) route, was approved by the US State Department as part of the Abraham Accords.

It was notified by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in November under the previous administration.

Expressing concern over the decision, Democratic House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Gregory Meeks said: “Fortunately, none of these transfers would occur any time soon, so there will be ample time for Congress to review whether these transfers should go forward and what restrictions and conditions would be imposed.”