UAE confirms $23 billion F-35 jets, drones deal

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The embassy statement said the UAE was committed to de-escalation in the region.

By Reuters

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Published: Fri 22 Jan 2021, 9:30 PM

Last updated: Sat 23 Jan 2021, 7:09 AM

The UAE confirmed that it signed agreements with the United States on former President Donald Trump’s last full day in office to purchase up to 50 F-35 jets, 18 armed drones and other defence equipment in a deal worth $23 billion.

The UAE embassy in Washington said in a statement on its website that the letters of agreement had been finalised on Tuesday confirming terms of purchase, including costs, technical specifications and anticipated delivery schedules.

The embassy said the contracts included as many as 50 F-35A fighters valued at $10.4 billion, 18 MQ-9B drones valued at $2.97 billion, and various munitions valued at $10 billion.

It did not mention the final in-country delivery date for the F-35 jets, but people familiar with the matter had told Reuters the initial proposal sent to UAE said 2027.

The embassy statement said the UAE was committed to de-escalation in the region and that the defence package enhanced US-UAE military interoperability.

It said the transaction was also “consistent with the bipartisan US National Defence Strategy of enabling partners to take on more responsibility for their own and collective security in the Middle East”.

The UAE said on Thursday that it looked forward to working with President Joe Biden’s administration.

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