The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed an agreement with the United States to purchase 50 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets, Reuters reported citing sources.
The new agreement gave UAE the chance to accept the negotiated schedule and configuration of the jets while also making the purchase request official. The agreement was reportedly signed about an hour before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States (POTUS) .
The outgoing Trump Administration and the UAE government were working to ink a deal before Biden took office on Wednesday. Biden has said he will re-examine the agreements.
UAE submitted a formal request to purchase F-35A jets from the U.S. in September. Following the request, the U.S. State Department approved the 10.4 billion sale of 50 F-35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) jets to UAE in November.
The request and approval came after the signing of a diplomatic agreement by UAE with Israel and Israel’s announcement that it will not oppose the U.S. sale of “certain weapon systems” to UAE. Under American law, Israel is guaranteed weapons needed to maintain its “qualitative military edge” over Arab nations. Israel operates its unique F-35I “Adir” version of the F-35A aircraft.
The separate agreement was also signed by UAE for procurement of 18 armed drones worth $2.97 billion for which the State Department has given approval in November. This will be the second-largest sale of U.S. drones to a single country.
According to the Reuters report, the State Department and the UAE Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment o the development.