Amid the murmurs that Israel is blocking the possible sale of American F-35 stealth fighter jets to the UAE, new reports indicate that a deal might be signed between the US and UAE by December 2020.
After the historic peace agreement with Israel, experts say that doors have opened for the UAE to acquire latest, state-of-art weaponry from the US without Israeli objection. While this is the case, an additional factor could be the influx of Chinese weapons on the battlefields of the Middle-East, which is also seen as a concern for the United States.
Reuters has learnt via its sources that the F-35 deal is expected to be formalised in time for the UAE national day, celebrated on 2nd December. With that in mind, Washington is studying ways to make Lockheed Martin’s F-35 “more visible to Israeli radar systems,” two sources told Reuters.
According to experts, the getting the F-35s exposed to detection by Israeli radars is to satisfy Jerusalem over the possible deal, which is being aggressively pushed by President Donald Trump. However, how the “more visible to Israeli radar” process would be achieved is still unclear, by either doing some modifications to the jet or provision of better radars for the Israelis.
Israel has been the first country to use its the stealth fighter jets in a combat mission. The Israeli Air Force reportedly used the F-35s during bombing campaigns in Syria and other “classified” operational theatres, all over the Middle-East.
The report of this formalisation of F-35 deal to UAE by December comes when the Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was due to meet his American counterpart Mark Esper in Washington on Tuesday.
While the UAE embassy declined to comment, a Pentagon spokeswoman also denied to comment on the reports- citing the administerial policies. “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defence sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.