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State Dept Clears $23B Sale of F-35 Aircraft, MQ-9B Drones to UAE

The State Department has submitted notification to Congress stating the former’s intent to approve the United Arab Emirates’ $23.4B request for F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, MQ-9B Reaper unmanned aerial systems and associated munitions.

Michael Pompeo, the secretary of state, said in a statement released Tuesday that the potential foreign military sale covers 50 F-35 aircraft worth $10.4B and 18 MQ-9B UAS valued at $2.97B.

The middle-eastern nation also requested for $10B worth of air-to-ground and air-to-air munitions as part of the deal in support of U.S. and Israel interests in line with the Abraham Accords.

According to Pompeo, the FMS agreement is meant to help the UAE expand its military capacity to “deter and defend itself against heightened threats from Iran.”

His comments come after Reuters reported that the State Department approved the sale of General Atomics-built MQ-9B drones to the UAE.

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