The US State Department has informally notified Congress about its support for the proposed sale of F-35A Lighting II joint strike fighter aircraft to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The development was confirmed by House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Representative Eliot Engel.

Following formal notification, Congress can reject or approve the proposal within 30 days.

Bloomberg quoted four people familiar with the matter as saying that the sale includes around 50 aircraft and is worth $10.4bn.

In August, US President Donald Trump told reporters that a possible sale of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the UAE is ‘under review’.

It follows the signing of a historic peace deal between Israel and the UAE brokered by US President Donald Trump.

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Israel is committed to purchasing 50 F-35s and the first of the aircraft started operations in 2017.

Engel said: “My consideration of this sale will include several factors. First, we must maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, as provided in US law, and ensure Israel’s military superiority in the region, as Israel remains our most crucial ally there.

“Israel currently has exclusive access in the region to the F-35, which has guaranteed its military edge over the last several years. As Congress reviews this sale, it must be clear that changes to the status quo will not put Israel’s military advantage at risk.

“This technology also must be safeguarded from our greatest global adversaries. With Russia and China active in the region, the American people will require unimpeachable assurances that our most advanced military capabilities will be protected.

“In the coming days, I invite members of Congress who share my concerns to join me in introducing legislation to ensure that the sale of these types of weapons adhere to our most important national security goals.”

In November last year, the US Government approved a potential sale of ten CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters to the UAE.