The State Department notified Congress Thursday that it backs the proposed sale of as many as 50 F-35A fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates for $10.4 billion, according to four people familiar with the matter.
It’s the latest step in the Gulf nation’s efforts to secure the stealthy Lockheed Martin Corp. fighters, the most advanced U.S.-built aircraft, after it agreed to recognize Israel in an accord brokered by the Trump administration.
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.
Israel has committed to buy at least 50 F-35s and in 2017 declared the first of its planes operational.
Thursday’s alert to lawmakers on the Senate and House foreign policy committees was an informal notification that will be followed at some point by a formal, publicly released one which Congress will have 30 days to approve or reject. (end of excerpt)
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