Dubai: The UAE’s ambassador to the United States, while welcoming joint efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East, has said that the issue of the American sale of F-35 jets to the country is much more than selling military hardware to a partner, according to a statement released by the UAE Embassy in Washington last week.
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba said: “Like the US, it allows the UAE to maintain a strong deterrent to aggression. In parallel with new dialogue and security cooperation, it helps to reassure regional partners. It also enables the UAE to take on more of the regional burden for collective security, freeing US assets for other global challenges, a long-time bipartisan US priority.”
Al Otaiba said that the UAE has always fought alongside the US. “And through hundreds of joint missions and participation in six US-led Coalition efforts, we have learned that the key to military coordination is inter-operability. With the same equipment and training, US and UAE forces are more effective together when and where it matters.”
The UAE had during Donald Trump’s presidency signed agreements to buy up to 50 F-35 jets, 18 armed drones and other defence equipment in a deal worth $23 billion.
What’s special about F-35s?
Many experts believe F-35 is the most advanced stealth fighter jet in the world. According to its maker, US aerospace and weapons giant Lockheed Martin, it is the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter aircraft in the world, giving pilots an advantage against any adversary and enabling them to execute their mission and come home safe.
The F-35 family includes three variants — all single-seat jets. The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant, the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant, and the F-35C carrier variant. All three variants have similar performance characteristics and the exact same advanced avionics.
The variation between models allows military forces to achieve service-specific mission capability, while still taking advantage of the economies of scale that result from the parts and processes that are common to all three variants.