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UAE set to purchase 50 F-35 jets and drones from US

written by Hannah Dowling | January 21, 2021

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly signed a deal with the US to purchase 50 F-35 fighter jets, as well as up to 18 armed drones.

The deal is said to have been signed just one hour before President Joe Biden was sworn into office, according to sources close to the matter.

President Biden has said he is intending to re-examine the agreement.

The UAE has long expressed interest in purchasing the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets, and were reportedly presented with the opportunity to do so upon agreeing to normalise relations with Israel back in August.

Under the current agreement, the UAE has the chance to accept the negotiated delivery schedule and configuration of the aircraft, while making the purchase request official.

Both parties had been working to secure the deal in December, however negotiations over such details including cost, timing of deliveries, technology packages and training assistance extended the negotiations into January, sources told Reuters.

The current proposal sent to the UAE for confirmation states a delivery date for the jets in 2027, according to those sources.

The completed jets will form a major component of a $23 billion sale of high-tech armaments to the UAE from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon Technologies.

Under the new agreement, the UAE government has also agreed to purchase up to 18 drones from the US, making it potentially the second-largest sale of US drones to one single country.


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