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UAE Wants To Upgrade F-16 Fighters And Gets Into $1.6 Billion Agreement With Lockheed Martin

UAE Wants To Upgrade F-16 Fighters And Gets Into $1.6 Billion Agreement With Lockheed Martin
The United Arab Emirates will conduct upgradation of its 80 F-16 jet fighters and for this purpose the country will shell out 6 billion dirhams ($1.63 billion) to Lockheed Martin Corp, according ot an announcement of the Defense Ministry whose spokesman said this on Sunday.
The announcement made to this effect was made a news conference by the Chief of the Military Committee and spokesman for the UAE Armed Forces - Major General Abdullah Al Sayed Al Hashemi.
Additionally, in order to secure defense communication, the country has also entered into an agreement worth 35 million dirham with Thales Communications and Security SAS and a 66 million dirhams deal with U.S.-based OTNA INC for Blu-109 ammunition, among other defense deals, the defense ministry also said.
The UAE is also reported to prefer buying Lockheed Martin’s F-35, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, fifth-generation fighter jets fifth-generation fighter jets, that the country has shown interest in because the requirements of the country’s defense ministry is met only by this series of fighter jets.
While broadly including a high degree of computerized connectivity between fighter jets and advanced and increased stealth capabilities are among the major criteria for fifth generation fighter jets, it is a term that is interpreted and defied in varied manner by different manufacturers.
Turkey, South Korea, Japan, and Israel are among the ally countries that have bought the F-35 to a range by the U.S. based company. Because of the policy of the U.S. government that is tilted towards Israel and the enmity between the Gulf countries and Israel, sources have reportedly said that the deal with the UAE for the fighter jets would undergo more scrutiny.
In the near future, the UAE would be able to buy the F-35, said Al Hashemi sounding optimistic. While declining to provide any details about the talks with the U.S. administration, he said: “it is an excellent jet.”
With the aim of buying dozens of Sukhoi 35 fighter jets, the UAE is also in talks with Russia, said Ishaq Saleh al Baloushi, executive director of Defense, Industry and Capability Development at the ministry of defense.
Despite the fact that the wealthy Gulf state had shown interests and analyzed the fourth generation jets such as the European Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Dassault Rafale fighter jets for a number of years, there has been no deal for the same inn all these years.
“Nothing is finalised, we are talking to all. The technical team is working on this.” he said declining to give details.
Even while the UAE and Iran relationship has been very tense and Iran has been identified as the arch enemy of the country, the Houthi group in neighboring Yemen has also been at the center of a fight that the UAE is part of along with its closest regional ally Saudi Arabia.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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