F-35 stealth fighter
F-35 stealth fighter iStock

The United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement with the United States to purchase 50 F-35 jets and up to 18 armed drones, people familiar with the agreement told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

Although the UAE and the United States were working to ink a deal before President Joe Biden took office on Wednesday, the new president has said he will re-examine the agreements, the report noted.

In late October, the White House notified Congress that it intends to sell the F-35 aircraft to the United Arab Emirates. Subsequent reports said the US also plans to sell 18 sophisticated armed aerial drones to the UAE.

The Senate recently voted against two motions that would have stopped the sales, effectively putting the sales in motion.

US lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have expressed concern over the potential sale of F-35 jets to the UAE and vowed to ensure that Israel can maintain its qualitative military edge.

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently announced that Israel would not oppose a US sale of advanced weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates, Israel Air Force commander Amikam Norkin indicated recently he was opposed to the sale.