F-35 and Su-35 face each other for UAE skies, but US Congress will decide who wins

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Since the middle of this year, amid the raging epidemic and complicated situation in the world due to the spreading coronavirus, the United Arab Emirates has decided to send an inquiry to the United States for the purchase of American fifth-generation F-35 fighters. By this time, the emirates had made an inquiry to purchase dozens of Russian Su-35s. Thus, in the virtual battle for the sky over the emirates, the two planes face each other.

Read more: Su-35 Flanker-E – Russian 4++ generation fighter jet [review]

As we announced earlier this year, the Israeli government has strongly criticized the UAE’s ability to acquire this type of fighter jet, as it would seriously upset the military balance in the Persian Gulf.

Russian media reported today that the UAE’s chances of choosing a Russian fighter of the 4 ++ generation Su-35 were significantly reduced after it became clear that the administration of US President Donald Trump had sent an unofficial inquiry to Congress about the possibility of Washington selling 50 fighters to the UAE. F-35 worth a total of 10 billion dollars. It is also important that in the current situation, the emirates would like to acquire the US airspace system, which will improve their position in the Persian Gulf and will actually have a major deterrent effect against Israel if the latter ever decides to take any military action. actions.

The news of the Trump administration’s question to Congress was announced by the chairman of the US Foreign Affairs Committee. At the same time, the possibility of such a deal finds resistance in the ranks of US Democrats, especially in the person of Elliott Engel, who is part of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. According to him, if the UAE acquires this technology, not only the military balance will be disturbed in the Persian Gulf, but also Israel’s military superiority will melt at a rapid pace, and this would be detrimental to peace in the region.

Military analysts believe that if a deal is reached between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, it will take a very long time, judging by the number of possible orders. But on the other hand, if it does happen, it will be a blow to Russia’s ambitions to sell perhaps its best fighter and perhaps its only fighter model that would successfully operate and cope in aerial combat with the American F- 35.

Analysts and experts point to another possibility – Congress to reject the offer to buy an American F-35 from Abu Dhabi, which will give more than a clear and definite advantage to the second option – the Russian Su-35. This would reassure Israel, and a similar reassurance would come with a possible order for new US military equipment. Of course, in this case, the price of the deal, no matter which of the two, is not a leading factor in choosing a fighter from the UAE, but more political.

Bypassing Israel

As we reported in September this year the 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.

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

This was announced then 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. 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 then 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.

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.

F-35 update news

As we reported on July 27 Lockheed Martin has published the F-35 Lightning II fighter upgrade program until 2030. The version will be called Block 4 and will be updated gradually – mainly due to delays in the development of the necessary software. The aircraft will need a lot of programs, since one of the key changes will be the 25 times increased computing capabilities of the F-35 on-board computers. This is due to the processing of information from a much larger number of active and passive aircraft sensors.

The 2030 fighter will be able to carry in the fuselage compartment not four AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, as it is now, but six thanks to the new Sidekick launch system. The aircraft’s arsenal will be replenished with AIM-260 missiles with an increased flight range and a specialized missile for destroying radars. They all have the same length as the AIM-120.

Read more: F-35 vs. Su-35 – who is better and who will win in a modern air battle?

Another reason why Lightning II needed much more powerful computers is unmanned slaves with artificial intelligence. They, of course, are also not without electronic brains, but the fighter’s computer will develop general tactics and control their actions. The drones are planned to be used for both striking and defense. For example, they will distract missiles aimed at the F-35.


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