The United Arab Emirates has submitted a formal request to purchase next-generation F-35 jets from the U.S. after the signing of a diplomatic agreement with Israel this month, according to a U.S. official familiar with the issue.
The request to the State Department is the first step in a potentially long process to secure the stealthy Lockheed Martin Corp. fighters, the most advanced U.S.-built aircraft. The official didn’t say how many planes the Middle East nation is seeking.
The potential purchase of the F-35s generated some criticism in Israel as the U.S.-brokered agreement between Israel and the UAE neared last week. Under American law, Israel is guaranteed weapons needed to maintain its “qualitative military edge” over Arab nations.
U.S. officials have said they can provide that assurance regardless of F-35 sales without specifying publicly what they would offer Israel. (end of excerpt)
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