Emirates' purchase of F-35 aircraft from the United States, a "top priority" for the Gulf State

Abu Dhabi seeks with this purchase to modernize its Armed Forces
A fighter plane, F-35

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   A fighter plane, F-35

The 'Abraham Agreements' have given US President Donald Trump a boost in foreign policy. The photo taken on Tuesday between Benjamín Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), his counterpart from Bahrain, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, and the US President at the White House after the signing of the document, has signified the normalisation of relations between two Gulf countries and Israel.

The beginning of relations between the Arab countries and Tel Aviv opened the door for the United States to establish arms sales with the Emirates, which has not gone down too well with Israel, as it would cease to be the only country in the area to receive the region's most advanced weapons, such as the F-35 aircraft Abu Dhabi is now going to buy.

Aviones F-35 de las Fuerzas Armadas de Estados Unidos
REUTERS/Fuerzas armadas de EEUU-US Armed Forces F-35 aircraft

The Emirates wants to modernise its army and has begun the process of buying American F-35 fighter planes, the Emirate's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Tuesday.

"Like any country that takes its armed forces seriously, the UAE is seeking to modernise them, which is why our request for the F-35 and other systems predates this agreement," Gargash said at a press conference, according to Reuters news agency. "The existing F-16 aircraft of the UAE are now almost two decades old, and it is time to renew them," said the UAE headline.

Ministro de Estado de Asuntos Exteriores, Anwar Gargash
PHOTO/REUTERS-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash

For its part, a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's office published on Tuesday reflects the bad feeling about the sale of these planes. "To begin with, the Prime Minister opposed the sale of F-35s and advanced weapons to any country in the Middle East, including the Arab states that are making peace with Israel.

Until now, Israel was the only country in the Middle East that had these last generation planes. A few weeks ago, the UAE cancelled a meeting with Washington and Tel Aviv over the possible sale of US F-35 fighter planes to the Gulf state.

Trump said in an interview on Fox News that, for his part, he would have no problem selling the planes to the UAE, if they paid for them. These aircraft, developed by Lockheed Martin, are fifth generation fighters and combine advanced infiltration, speed, agility, fully integrated sensor information, network support processes and sustainability.

They are capable of carrying out missions that require a small number of designated aircraft, such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber attack. The fighter has already been used by the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

The F-35, equipped with an integrated sensor package, is the most powerful and complete of any fighter aircraft in history. There are 3 versions of the F-35 and each version has special features. The first model is the F-35A and is designed for normal take-off and landing. The second model is the F-35B and is designed for short take-off and vertical landing. The third model is the F-35B and is dedicated to the service on board of CATOBAR aircraft carriers.

Archivo de estado sobre el avión de combate F-35
PHOTO/AFP-F-35 combat aircraft data file

Trade relations between the Emirates and the United States date back more than 20 years. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, pointed out that Washington had also provided military support to the United Arab Emirates for over two decades, which he described as necessary to avoid the shared threats of Iran, also Israel's regional rival.