A top American official said there were “incredibly positive conversations going on” between the US, Israel and UAE with regard to selling F-35 warplanes to the latter.
“We know that there are more agreements to formalize between the UAE and Israel, but you have taken the first step and I have no doubt that the other steps will come into place, and that’s one of the reasons why Secretary Pompeo is here,” Morgan Ortagus, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, told Emirates News Agency, WAM, in an exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi Thursday.
“With respect to the F-35 or any military hardware or infrastructure, I keep reminding people that it is important to know that the UAE and US’ military and security relationship is robust and has been there for decades. Since the Gulf War, the United States had sold military aircraft and hardware, F-16s, and others to the UAE,” she added.
“This is not a new relationship; this is a sophisticated relationship that we have had for decades,” she continued.
Ortagus was in Abu Dhabi accompanying the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who landed in the UAE Thursday afternoon on the fourth leg of his regional tour, after having visited Israel, Sudan and Bahrain in the past few days. His next destination is Oman.
The American official emphasized that Pompeo in his meetings, this week, with Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabi Ashkenazi, had been “pretty firm in his commitment to both the UAE and Israel.”
“We certainly are letting all our allies in the region know that our commitment militarily to strengthen the UAE is incredibly important,” she added.
Ortagus said that the UAE-Israel peace accord, which was announced on 13th August, showed UAE’s “strength and power on the international stage.”
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter is the most advanced fighter jet in the world. It combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
Three variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries.
The Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed for many missions with advanced, integrated sensors built into every aircraft. Missions that were traditionally performed by small numbers of specialized aircraft, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and electronic attack missions can now be executed by a squadron of F-35s, bringing new capabilities to many allied forces.
The F-35 is developed, produced, and supported by an international team of leading aerospace companies. As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin continues its 100-year history of aircraft research and design with the Lightning II.
Principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems build the center and aft fuselages, respectively. Northrop Grumman also brings its expertise in carrier aircraft and low-observable stealth technology to the F-35 program and supports logistics, sustainment, modeling and simulation and mission planning. BAE Systems contributes a rich heritage of capabilities, including short takeoff and vertical landing experience, advanced lean manufacturing, flight testing and air systems sustainment. Pratt & Whitney builds the F-35's F135 propulsion system, the world's most powerful fighter engine.