Sunday, February 28, 2021

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Why UAE’s Long-Cherished Dream Of Flying F-35 Fighter Jets Will Not Be Realized Anytime Soon

The UAE’s long-cherished dream of flying the advanced F-35 stealth fighters remains unfulfilled as US President Joe Biden decided to suspend the deal for the combat jets for the time being.

The Biden administration has decided to review the arms sales that were approved by the Trump administration. The deals included the purchase of the modern F-35 fighters, which the Gulf nation has been eying for a long time.

Apart from “temporarily pausing” the deal for the stealthy fighters to the UAE, the US has suspended the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia as well.

Australian Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II - Luke Air Force Base, AZ, UNITED STATES 06.27.2018 - PICRYL Public Domain Image
An F-35 fighter jet

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his first press conference, stressed how the Biden administration wishes to “ensure full understanding” of the arms sale and study the deal that was made with the UAE after the normalization of ties with Israel under the historic Abraham Accords.

“We very much support the Abraham Accords, we think that Israel normalizing relations with its neighbors and other countries in the region is a very positive development and so, we applaud them, and we hope that there may be an opportunity to build on it in the months and years ahead,

“We’re also trying to make sure that we have a full understanding of any commitments that may have been made in securing those agreements, and that’s something we’re looking at right now,” said Blinken.

On January 26, Blinken said that putting the arms sales on hold was customary when a new administration takes charge.

“Generally speaking, when it comes to arms sales, it is typical at the start of an administration to review any – any pending sales, to make sure that what is being considered as something that advances our strategic objectives and advances our foreign policy. So that’s – that’s what we’re doing at this moment,” he said.

Considered the most advanced fighter jet, the fifth-generation single-seat, single-engine, all-weather multirole F-35 fighter has been on the shopping list of many nations including the UAE.

It was after the Gulf nation and Israel signed a peace and normalization agreement, mediated by the Trump administration, that the country was inching closer to acquiring the fighters.

File:Joe Biden and Donald Trump.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
US President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump.

The F-35s are already in service with nine countries; they can perform an array of roles including both air superiority and strike missions.

Developed after the introduction of the F-22 Raptor, the F-35 can also be used in electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

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