May 19, 2024

The F-35 moves further from the United Arab Emirates

In early December 2021, the United Arab Emirates and France announced the signing of a historic €14 billion deal, which, among other things, related to the acquisition of 80 Rafale F4 aircraft to replace the UAE Mirage 2000-9.

The decision follows Joe Biden’s suspension of a potential deal with the US for Abu Dhabi to purchase 50 F-35As and 9 MQ-9B Guardian drone systems in January 2021. For the US president, security requirements for the export of the F-35A were not actually met by the UAE, despite awarding the contract to Chinese company Huawei to introduce 5G in the country.

Since then, Emirati F-35As have been in the headlines on several occasions, either to announce the resumption of negotiations on the issue or to highlight the apparent lack of progress in this area. So, this week’s annual talks between Abu Dhabi and Washington don’t give much hope to Lockheed Martin.

The F-35 was missing from the annual talks between Washington and Abu Dhabi

A report on these negotiationsWhile reporting significant developments in civilian industrial and technological areas and future US-developed Guardian drones, there was no mention of the US stealth fighter.

Donald Trump signed the Emirati order, which, among other things, affects 50 F-35As the day before handing over power to Joe Biden.

Recall that two weeks after announcing an order for 80 Rafale fighter jets with France, Emirati officials announced the conclusion of negotiations with the United States on the F-35. After suspending the deal days after Joe Biden took office, Abu Dhabi says the year-long talks have made no progress.

Indeed, not mentioning the F-35 in these annual discussions would not bode well for the deal and the special relationship the UAE and Saudi Arabia have with the United States. In this area.

The specter of rapprochement between the UAE and China

Although this information is worrying for Washington, it is not a surprise, quite the opposite. Actually, not only Chinese company Huawei has successfully concluded a contract for a 5G network in the United Arab EmiratesBut Abu Dhabi and Beijing have come closer in many areas over the past three years.

The first Chinese Hongdu L-15A Falcon training aircraft ordered by the UAE Air Force was delivered in 2023 and is already participating in the training and development of their fighter pilots.

Hongdu L-15A Falcon
The UAE has ordered 48 Hongdu L-15A Falcon advanced trainer aircraft from Beijing.

But without the slightest doubt, talks have begun between the two countries over the construction of a Chinese military base in the country that could house the People’s Liberation Army forces, which tends to block any progress in F. 35 in this country.


LOGO META DEFENSE 70 FIGHTERS |  Security News |  Military aircraft construction

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