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Stalemate for the US: UAE wants F-35 stealth fighters, Israel wants F-22 Raptor

BERLIN, (BM) – The United Arab Emirates is expected to receive up to 50 Lockheed Martin F-35s soon. This is a topic of conversation about Israel’s supremacy in the Middle East. The Israelis want to seize the opportunity – and are courting the United States for the F-22 Raptor, learned BulgarianMilitary.com ciitnf the German magazine Flugrevue.

Read more: Top 5 best fifth generation fighter jets in the World

In the United States, there is a law from the end of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. This means that the United States always guarantees Israel a technological leader over its Arab neighbors in the field of weapons. For this reason, among other things, the sale of the most modern American fighter aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35, to countries in the Arab world has so far been a problem.

Israel is giving the green light

However, with the rapprochement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the peace agreement signed two weeks ago, things are starting to change. The Israeli government recently announced that it would not mind if the United States decided to supply the UAE with F-35 stealth fighters, which Israelis have been operating since late 2016. The White House has now informed the US Congress that it will approve the sale of 50 F -35 of the Emirates. Jared Kushner, an adviser and son-in-law of US President Trump, had already promised the Arabs the prospect of airplanes ahead of time if relations with Israel returned to normal.

Politician: ‘Don’t hurry with anything!’

The announcement was met with ambiguity in Congress. Eliot Engel, a member of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, expressed concern that such a deal could “significantly change the military balance in the Persian Gulf and affect Israel’s military advantage”. Engel warns him not to hurry. “The export of this aircraft requires careful consideration,” the politician said. Therefore, Congress must first examine all the related implications.

If that investigation goes negative, Congress could block the $ 10.4 billion deal. However, government circles have already said that the United States wants to guarantee Israeli military superiority over its neighbors in the future. “U.S. officials have said they can give this assurance regardless of F-35 sales, without publicly stating what they want to offer Israel,” Bloomberg reported. It is therefore possible for the UAE to obtain a “crippled” version of the F-35, which cannot dispute the superiority of the Israeli F-35, such as in the field of software.

… or an F-22 for Israel?

It would also be possible for the Israelis to be able to buy a completely different caliber fighter from the United States in return. One that has been reserved for the US Air Force for years: the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. In the past, the Israelis have repeatedly watched this super-fighter, but hopes were dashed at an early stage with the categorical refusal of the Senate. Now the situation can be reversed: The Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat writes, citing “high-ranking sources” in Tel Aviv, that the Trump administration has already approved the export of F-22 to Israel. The Australian website Defense Connect reports something similar.

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

Serial production may start again

Meanwhile, it remains unclear how many planes Israel can receive and where they should come from. After all, the F-22 has not been produced since 2011 and the US Air Force is unlikely to sell any of its own 187 units. However, Raptor’s production facilities, tools and equipment for the construction process still exist. Discussions have been going on for years about the resumption of serial production of the fighter. The idea is not entirely absurd, especially since both parliamentary groups in the House of Representatives initially ruled out the possibility of resuming production of the F-22.

UAE and Saudi Arabia want to buy Israeli Iron Dome

Russia’s anti-aircraft missile system S-400 continues to be of interest to many countries around the world, as it is believed to be the best defense system at the moment. BulgarianMilitary.com wrote earlier this year that the two Gulf states, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are showing serious interest in buying these systems.

Most recently, the online news agency Eurasia wrote that the interest of the two Middle Eastern countries has changed dramatically with the S-400 air defense systems, and they no longer want to buy them. Information has appeared in international publications that the two countries are taking steps to withdraw from negotiations to acquire the Triumphs and are moving towards negotiations to acquire Israeli Iron Dome air defense systems. Such information also appeared in the annual reports of both countries. The reason for the new interest in the Israeli Iron Dome can be found in various forms, but one of them is the proven combat effectiveness of the Israeli air defense system in recent years in the Middle East and its fight against unmanned aerial vehicles, aircraft and missiles.

Another main reason is the normalization of diplomatic, political and military relations between the Gulf countries and Israel, which leads to increased interest in the Iron Dome not only on both sides but also on other countries of the world. Such information is spread widely among the Israeli media as well. A number of reports by the Israeli military, as well as by analysts in the region, share the general view that “full trust” between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel is far from a concept in diplomatic relations, but it is gradually beginning to build. take considerable time to achieve.

One of the worst-hit countries in the field of air strikes in the last 24 months is Saudi Arabia. Yemeni Houthi drones and missiles have hit oil refineries, warehouses and some airports in the past two years. The Saudis have the greatest interest in buying such systems, as it turned out that the American air defense system Patriot can not meet expectations for quality air defense. We would look for a possible reason for the interest in the Iron Dome from the Saudis and the fact that the United States also recognizes the superiority of the Iron Dome over Patriot, after deciding to work with Israel to renew and modernize the Israeli air defense system.

The armament of Israeli air defense systems is also an important fact. The Barak-8 missile is a joint production between India and Israel, and in recent years this missile has shown that it accepts the challenge of “Israeli enemies” and can handle almost anything they [the enemies of Israel – ed.] Are armed with. . We are talking about all kinds of air attacks – helicopters, planes, drones, ballistic and cruise missiles and more.

Read more: The U.S. Army will purchase two Israeli Iron Dome rocket defence systems

However, military experts and experts see a completely different reason in the desire of the UAE and Saudi Arabia to acquire Israeli air defense systems and abandon their Russian S-400s. It is a question of the expressed desire of both parties to acquire a fifth generation F-35 fighter. For that to happen, there is no way Washington can sell the two countries the fighter jets they want if they have Russian defense systems. See Turkey as the most illustrative example.

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