The US Department of State has notified Congress of its plans to sell 50 F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. In an official press statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had directed the Trump administration of the intention of the sale so as to maintain Middle East peace efforts.
The notification to lawmakers follows the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE, under which the Arab states have agreed to normalise relations with Israel, AP reported.
The $23.37 billion worth deal includes up to 50 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, up to 18 MQ-9B Unmanned Aerial Systems, and a package of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.
"This is in recognition of our deepening relationship and the UAE's need for advanced defense capabilities to deter and defend itself against heightened threats from Iran," said Pompeo in the statement.
The F-35 descends from the Lockheed Martin X-35 andhas great stealth ability, maneuver ability anddodgingmechanism of sophisticated radars.Earlier, Anwar Mohammed Gargash UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs had confirmed the purchase of F-35s was also among their goals upon normalizing relations with Israel in August.
"The UAE's historic agreement to normalize relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to positively transform the region's strategic landscape," Pompeo commented.