The U.S. Air Force has announced that a United Arab Emirates Air Force Mirage 2000, F-16 Desert Falcon and a U.S. F-35A Lightning II conducted a partnering flight in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, May 29, 2019.
According to a news release put out by U.S. Air Forces, the flight was conducted to continue building military-to-military relationships and interoperability with the UAE.
“The U.S Air Force and the United Arab Emirates Air Force join together for a partnering flight in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility,” said in a statement.
It should be stated, the UAE Air Force has plans to buy two squadrons of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
According to the Israeli news portal, the UAE seeks to purchase its own fleet of the advanced F-35 fighter jets, built by US defense giant Lockheed Martin, amid reports of a burgeoning Israeli-Gulf alliance against Iran.
Previously, military sources with knowledge of the matter have reported that “the talks between the two parties are [focused on] sensitive systems in the aircraft that need export permit.” The sources refused to disclose the value of the deal but said it would be limited in the first phase to the purchase of two squadrons, or 24 aircraft.
The U.S. Defense industry is developing and fielding F-35’s family of fifth-generation strike fighter aircraft integrating stealth technologies with advanced sensors and computer networking capabilities for the United States Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy, eight international partners, and four foreign military sales customers.
The family is comprised of three aircraft variants. The Air Force’s F-35A variant will complement its F-22A fleet and is expected to replace the air-to-ground attack capabilities of the F-16 and A-10. The Marine Corps’ F-35B variant will replace its F/A-18 and AV-8B aircraft. The Navy’s F-35C variant will complement its F/A-18E/F aircraft.