UAE Keeps F-35 on Table after $ 19.2 billion Rafale Deal
In ab arms deal worth 17 billion euros ($19.2 billion), the Gulf Arab state bought 80 Dassault Aviation Rafales and 12 Airbus Helicopters Caracal combat helicopters on Friday.
Major General Ibrahim Nasser Al Alawi, commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defence, said late Saturday in a statement on state news agency WAM that the Rafale planes will replace the UAE's Mirage 2000 fleet, which was developed in France.
"This agreement is not regarded as an alternative to the upcoming F-35 deal; rather, it is a complimentary transaction... as we improve our air force capabilities," Alawi said, adding that the UAE had been aiming to replace its Mirage fleet for some time.
The sale of 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets to the UAE has halted due to Washington's worries over Abu Dhabi's connection with China, notably the country's use of Huawei 5G technology.
Last month, a US official stated that the US plans to proceed with the transaction but that "Emirati duties" must be clearly defined.
After the UAE forged connections with Israel last year, the US agreed to sell the planes under then-President Donald Trump. The government of President Joe Biden has stated that the transaction will take place this year.