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Bypassing Israel: US wants to sell F-35s to the Arab Emirates

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – US President Donald Trump intends to discuss with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a possible agreement on the sale to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of American fifth-generation F-35 fighters, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Gazeta.ru.

Read more: Fifth generation F-35 fighter jet is more and more active in the Middle East

As TASS informs, this was announced on Monday by the son-in-law and senior adviser to the American leader Jared Kushner, answering questions from journalists on board the plane that made the first direct flight from Israel to the UAE.

This is facilitated by the achievement of agreements on the normalization of relations between the Jewish and Arab states.

Kushner was asked to comment on the position of Netanyahu, who opposes the agreement. “Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump will discuss this at some point,” he said.

Kushner stressed that the United States remains committed to helping Israel maintain a quality military-technical advantage in the region.

At the same time, Trump’s aide added that relations between the United States and the UAE in the field of defense are more than 30 years old. “The defense relationship that America has with the UAE is very special. It is possible to ensure that Israel’s quality military advantage is respected and, at the same time, our military relations with the UAE develop,” Kushner said.

The New York Times reported last week that the Trump administration has accelerated negotiations to sell the UAE F-35 and advanced unmanned aerial vehicles.

Earlier, Trump indicated that the UAE is interested in buying a significant number of fifth generation F-35 fighters from the United States, and the American administration is exploring this possibility.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that the agreement on the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE does not contain a clause on the consent of the Jewish state to a deal to sell American weapons to the UAE.

As emphasized in the message, “The United States made it clear to Israel that it will always monitor the preservation of its high-quality military-technical advantage in the region.” The office noted that Prime Minister Netanyahu has always opposed the sale of the F-35 and other modern weapons to any, with the exception of Israel, the states of the Middle East, including Arab countries that maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.

Read more: Dogfight! Russia’s Su-35 and Su-57 vs. F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet

After the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, Washington pledged to ensure Israel’s military and technical superiority in the region. At the same time, the expert community is of the opinion that Israel’s fears about a possible deal between Washington and Abu Dhabi are somewhat exaggerated.

“Apparently, Israel’s fears about the possible acquisition by the United Arab Emirates of the 5th generation F-35 aircraft are somewhat exaggerated,” Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Gazeta.Ru.

“For example, the F-16 fighter is in service with the Israeli Air Force and the Jordanian Air Force. But if a Jordanian pilot wants to fire on an Israeli car, this will not happen due to the peculiarities of the software incorporated by the American manufacturer into the F-16 fighter. Even more, it can be said, in a logarithmic progression, these moments are strengthened both in the onboard electronic equipment of the F-35 fighter and in its ground part, which is fully controlled by the American side,” says the director of the Center for Strategy Analysis and technologies Ruslan Pukhov.

Speaking about the tactical and technical characteristics of the 5th generation F-35 fighter, it is imperative to talk about the ALIS (Autonomics Logistics and Information System) system.

It is the world’s first system for centralized daily monitoring of the technical condition of F-35 aircraft in real time. In fighters of previous generations, these functions were performed by several different systems on a daily basis.

Currently, there is only one global center – the Autonomic Logistics Operating Unit (ALOU) – where a stock of spare parts is formed and distributed as needed to F-35 operators. All ALIS servers are connected to each other via encrypted terrestrial or satellite systems.

“I must say that we even do not fully imagine the architecture of this system and understand the peculiarities of its functioning. But in reality – a revolution in military affairs. It allows you to control each F-35, all operators, regardless of the region where the machine is located, and, if necessary, limit the aircraft’s range of combat missions. Earlier, the United States could say to any buyer of its weapons – “you bought missiles from us, but let them lie on our territory for now.” Now there is no need for this,” a high-ranking source in the Russian aviation industry told Gazeta.Ru.

Read more: Greece buys F-35 for air superiority over Turkey

“If necessary, the United States will restrict its ally (a potential buyer and operator of the F-35) by pressing one button of the ALIS system,” the specialist said.

“So if the United Arab Emirates in the future (of course, if the purchase of the F-35 takes place) decides to use this fighter, contrary to the interests of the United States in the region, then by the decision of the operator of the ALIS system, the tactical and technical characteristics of the machine will be or will be so underestimated that its combat the application will be devoid of any sense, or the departure of the F-35 fighter itself will be called into question,” Ruslan Pukhov emphasized.

Among other things, the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies drew attention to such a moment. In February 2017, it was announced that Russia, together with the United Arab Emirates, would develop a 5th generation light fighter.

“Today we signed an agreement on the development of industrial cooperation in the field of military-technical products. This makes it possible to develop a project on a fifth-generation light fighter, which will be developed with the participation of the Emirates side,” said Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, at IDEX 2017 on February 20, 2017.

Recall that the International Defense Conference & Exhibition (IDEX) is an international exhibition of the arms and defense industry – the largest in the Middle East and North Africa and one of the largest in the world. It was first organized in 1993 and since then it has been held regularly every two years. Held under the patronage of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and with the support of the UAE Ministry of Defense. At the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, samples of weapons, military equipment, security and safety systems are exhibited.

In turn, at the same exhibition, the head of the UAC, Yuri Slyusar, said that the development of the aircraft was at an early stage. “The joint development of a fifth generation light fighter with the UAE is at an early stage. We are now preparing our proposals to the Emirates side. We believe that the car will be successful. We are ready to present our developments to our colleagues,” he said.

According to Slyusar, announced in February 2017 at IDEX 2017, “from the Russian side, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) will participate in the project as the parent organization, as well as Sukhoi with its developments on the fifth generation fighter and RSK MiG with developments in single-engine airplanes”.

Read more: Russia’s S-400 has detected F-35s near the Iran’s border, US confirmed jet’s visibility

At the same time, as the head of Rostec Sergey Chemezov said at IDEX 2017, the fifth generation light fighter will be created on the basis of the MiG-29. “A more modern fifth-generation aircraft will be created on the basis of the MiG-29,” he said. “Work on this aircraft, I think, will begin next year, it will take about seven or eight years,” added the head of Rostec.

Since then, there has been practically no news about the Russian-Emirati project of the 5th generation fighter in the public domain. And it is not clear at what point this plan is now.

“However, there is sufficient reason to believe that if the sale of the 5th generation F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates is realized, then the further advancement of the project on the lightweight fifth generation fighter of Russia jointly with the UAE will be, to put it mildly, a big question mark,” Ruslan said. Pukhov.

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