Report: US, UAE to commit to F-35 fighter sale by December

Trump admin. looking for ways to make F-35s visible to Israeli radar, report claims, US and UAE plan to sign deal by early December.

David Rosenberg ,

F-35 stealth fighter
F-35 stealth fighter

The United States and the United Arab Emirates will move forward with the sale of F-35 fighter jets, with an initial agreement to be signed by early December, Reuters reported Tuesday afternoon.

According to the report, which cited sources close to the negotiations, the two sides are planning to sign a letter of agreement regarding the sale in place no later than December 2nd.

The Trump administration is pushing the sale of the advance stealth fighters despite objections from Israel, and is looking for ways to placate Jerusalem, which fears the sale could weaken Israel’s qualitative military edge.

Two sources told Reuters that the US is studying ways to make the F-35 stealth fighter visible to Israeli radar, enabling Israel to maintain its strategic edge.

In addition, defense experts say the F-35 fighters sold to the UAE could be built in such a way as to underperform the variant sold to the Israeli Air Force, much as the US currently ensures that all F-35s sold abroad be unable to outperform US jets.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who recently arrived in Washington, is set to meet with Defense Secretary Mark Esper Tuesday.

The two are scheduled to discuss the F-35 sale and Israel’s concerns, among other things.