The United Arab Emirates has expressed interest in acquiring the Joint Strike Fighter.
Industry sources said the UAE leadership has been quietly discussing the prospect of acquiring the F-35 fighter-jet from the United States. They said JSF was raised by UAE officials and military officers in several forums over the last year.
“The UAE wants to be part of JSF, and eventually share in technology and co-production,” a source said.
The sources said UAE Air Force officers were briefed on the F-35 program during IDEX-2013, which took place in Abu Dhabi in February. They said the UAE proposed becoming a regional hub for maintenance and marketing of JSF to Gulf Cooperation Council states.
“The UAE feels it’s ready for a fifth-generation fighter, which could serve as the basis for its new aerospace sector,” the source said. “The other planes available are considered poor alternatives.”
The UAE will have a very good chance of receiving the F-35 if they want it; they have previously received advanced US tech very early, including the F-16 Block 60s, which were absolutely cutting edge when they got them, and they are now on contract to get THAAD. Not only that, the UAE Air Force is dependent on external contractors and foreign nationals to maintain their jets so there is a very low reason to fear that technology will get into the wrong hands.