US eyes accord on stealth fighter jets with UAE

Updated 23 Sep 2020

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Sources close to the negotiations said the goal is to have a letter of agreement in place in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec 2. — Reuters
Sources close to the negotiations said the goal is to have a letter of agreement in place in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec 2. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: The United States and the United Arab Emirates hope to have an initial agreement on the sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Gulf state in place by December, as the Trump administration studies how to structure a deal without running afoul of Israel.

Sources close to the negotiations said the goal is to have a letter of agreement in place in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec 2.

Any deal must satisfy decades of agreement with Israel that states any US weapons sold to the region must not impair Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” guaranteeing US weapons furnished to Israel are “superior in capability” to those sold to its neighbors.

With that in mind Washington is studying ways to make the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 more visible to Israeli radar systems, two sources said.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz was due to meet his US counterpart Mark Esper in Washington on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2020