The UAE and the F-35: Frontline Defense for the UAE, US and Partners
The sale of the F-35 to the UAE is much more then selling military hardware to a partner. It is about advancing a more stable and secure Middle East. It enables the UAE to take on more of the burden for collective security from the United States.
The UAE needs a fifth-generation multi-role fighter to protect the nation and to advance the shared security interests of the United States and its friends in the Middle East. With its stealth, standoff and sensor capabilities, the F-35 provides a critical advantage over increasingly sophisticated adversaries.
The F-35 will be an upgrade to the US-supplied F-16 that President Bill Clinton first approved for sale to the UAE in 2000. The UAE has deployed the F-16 in support of multiple U.S.-led counter-terrorism, freedom of navigation, and stabilization missions in Afghanistan, Syria and around the Arabian Gulf and Peninsula.
The U.S. sale of the F-35 to the UAE is completely consistent with the U.S. National Defense Strategy that calls for enabling partners to take on more responsibility for their own and collective security in the Middle East.
With Israel’s full acceptance of reassurances that the U.S. will “maintain Israel’s security superiority in the Middle East for decades to come,” the sale of the F-35 is also consistent with U.S. policy and law to uphold Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME).
The UAE first expressed interest in acquiring the F-35 more than six years ago. The UAE has submitted its formal letter of request and will defer to the U.S. Department of State to facilitate the review process with Congress.
Reflecting the UAE’s longstanding security relationship with the United States and the proven capabilities(link is external) of the UAE Armed Forces, US officials and analysts, as well as Israeli national security experts, support the UAE’s efforts to enhance its ability to protect and defend shared interests in the region and around the world.