Drones and F-35 Fighter Jet Deal in focus for the Dubai Air Show

A few of MQ-9 Reapers of the 46th Expeditionary Attack Squadron are parked on the flightline at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, June 9, 2020.

Senior aviator Isaiah J. Soliz | US Air Force

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Cutting-edge technologies and being geopolitical set until feature in military deals on this yearThe Dubai Air Show. And some gun sales – of lack thereof – are a big problem points for both the US and its allies in the wave, in met especially the United Arab Emirates.

Jet fighter fleet upgrades and new counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) technologies are probably important themes in the industry show, especially given the rise in drone strikes around the region in recent years.

But a lot eyes will be on of previous agreements made Under the Trump Administration to Sell Certain US Weapons Systems to the UAE, There Will Be Real – Agreements die have stalled since the Biden administration power.

The sales in be question of the coveted Lockheed Martin F-35 II joint strike fighter jet and the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone, die, if completed, the first sale of the F-35 and the USmade armed drones to every Arab country.

“The UAE has had an excellent need for fighter aircraft for quite some time moving towards an F-35 purchase but you know, terribly loaded with complications,” Richard Aboulafia, Vice President of analysis at Teal Group, CNBC told ahead of the air show.

Signed the deal on January 20, die from Donald Trump last day in office, used to be for a whopping $23 billion sales to the UAE, the majority of which was made up of 50 F-35 jets and at least 18 weaponized drones.

U.S. Export Regulations Previously Prevented Washington From Selling Deadly Drones To Anyone of his Arab allies. And a sale of the F-35 to the Gulf Desert Sheikhdom was initially a non-starter due to a legal obligation for the US to reserve the most advanced weapons sales for Israel, in to Israel’s “qualitative” military edge” in the Middle East.

But all that changed after Israel and the UAE signed the Abraham Accords in August of 2020, normalizing relationships and paving the way for collaboration and trade in almost all sectors. And the export restrictions on armed drones were unleashed by the Trump administration in July of 2020 to allow certain drones – including the deadly Reapers – to be sold to friendly Arab states.

technological losses space to China?

What was the reason for die change? Geopolitics and competition, defense experts say.

Washington “tried to be nice” of come in the pragmatic reality of what the current global environment is for unmanned systems,” says Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at IHS Jane’s.

He highlighted a point that many US industry leaders have warned about: losses market share to China, which sells its own armed drones to Arab states, including the UAE.

“The Trump administration realized they would lose if they didn’t change their policies.” power, influence and technology space to China,” said Forrester.

‘Drones, drones, drones’

requested in which segment? of aerospace China was most attractive to customers in the Gulf, Teal Group’s Aboulafia said, “Oh, undeniably drones. Absolutely. Drones, drones, drones. And you know, there is no such thing as a passive platform more. everything sucks up data. So that’s a real care.

Attendees walk past a Chinese made Wing Loong drone shown at the Dubai Airshow on Nov 14, 2017, in the United Arab Emirates.

KARIM SAHIB | AFP | Getty Images

The UAE and some of his neighbors are buying Chinesemade Wing Loong armed drones, but the purchases are coming with their own challenges. Apart from what performance problems, the Chinese technology cannot be integrated with the UAE’s command and control systems, want die to be: designed by American companies.

“They don’t have interoperability. That’s very important,” Forrester said. “But the UAE is still” using them anyway. They have been able use they nevertheless suffice, because they option do differently.”

Biden’s back-and further

Biden announced An review of the massive arms deal with the UAE to the start of his presidency, later saying: in April that the sale could continue. But progress was once again lay on ice cream shortly afterwards, allegedly because of American care over growing ties between the UAE and China.

The Biden administration has put pressure on the UAE to bring Huawei technologies in being out of china telecom to get network and dump his other Chinese weapons technology, industry experts say, because of safety and espionage risk Washington believes they are posing for Americans technology in the country. Already in 2020, a Pentagon report said China is “highly likely” already consider and plan for Additionally overseas military logistics facilities”, in including the UAE countries.

the Emirates government rejected the worries, with his ambassador in the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, says: in a statement earlier this year: “The UAE has a long and consistent trajectory record of protect the US military technology, both in coalitions where we have served alongside the US military and within the UAE where a wide range of sensitive VS military assets have been deployed for many years.”

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not responded to a CNBC request for comment.

Negotiations are reportedly underway, with a funfair amount of back-and further on how the agreement should progress. The current deal would cause the F-35 jets to start met delivery to UAE in 2027; a stronger Chinese presence in the UAE could postpone that indefinitely.

Read More: World News


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