Home Air US clears F-35, MQ-9B for UAE in potential deals totaling over $13B

US clears F-35, MQ-9B for UAE in potential deals totaling over $13B

Illustration. US Air Force file photo

The US State Department has announced official approvals for the sale of F-35A fifth-generation fighters and MQ-9B armed UAS to United Arab Emirates.

The two potential sales have an estimated value of over $13 billion dollars. More specifically, the UAE has expressed interest in buying up to 50 F-35As for $10.4 billion and up to 18 MQ-9Bs for $2.97 billion.

The official confirmation follows reports from last week which indicated the approval plans.

According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the fighter aircraft sale would include electronic warfare systems, command and control systems, F-35 unique chaff and infrared flares and the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN).

The remotely piloted aircraft deal includes Raytheon’s Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems-D (MTS-D) EO/IR Sensors, Lynx AN/APY-8 Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) with Ground Moving Target Indicator (GTMI), satellite communication (SATCOM) antennas and modems with USG encryption and radios. Also included are AGM-114R Hellfire Missiles, KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits for 500LB bombs, MK-82 general purpose 500LB inert bombs, and GBU-39 small diameter bomb (SDB) guided test vehicle (GTV) inert practice munitions.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will alter the basic military balance in the Arabian Gulf region by expanding the release of a weapons ready remotely piloted aircraft to the region,” DSCA said in its announcement.

Commenting on the sale approval on Tuesday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the equipment would allow UAE “to deter and defend against increased threats from Iran following historic Abraham Accords.”

The signing of the Abraham Accords in September this year by UAE’s foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Bahrain’s foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu cleared the way for the normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel.

The proposed sales must still be approved by Congress.