The US State Department has sent a notification to Congress regarding the sale of 18 sophisticated armed MQ-9B aerial drones to the United Arab Emirates. Sources aware of this notification have stated that the entire deal is costing about $2.9 billion.
Just last week, the US Congress received a notification regarding a deal involving F-35 fighter jets selling to UAE. The current notification has followed the previous one quite closely.
The Trump government had revamped the arms agreement that came into existence between 34 countries during the cold war period. According to the latest agreement, contractors related to US defense can sell more and more drones to its ally nations. This drone export would be the very first one to occur after the arms agreement was reinterpreted.
According to Reuters‘ reports, UAE has been very keen for a long time now to buy drones manufactured by the US. The middle eastern country is the first to receive drones from the US after the US export policy change that happened this summer. The first-ever formal notification to be sent to the US Congress was regarding the $600 million pact that contained the sale of four armless and weapon-ready MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones to Taiwan. This notification reached Congress on Tuesday.
In the case of drone sale to the UAE, this is just an informal notification that comes before the State Department sends a formal notification to Congress’s legislative branch. When we talk about an informal notification, it involves the US Senate Foreign Relations, along with the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, who has the power to review and, if necessary, stop the weapon sale to the UAE via an informal review technique. These members have taken a strong stand against the UAE and have blamed the nation for being a part of the Yemen civil war that took away many civilians’ lives.
According to the rules, Congress gets a time of 30 days to raise any objections if there is anything absurd.
A spokesperson from the US State Department has stated, “As a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”
The armed MQ-9B drones would also be housing the maritime radar within themselves. These could arrive sometime around 2024. Congress has received a notification involving 15 drones. Additionally, there are three drones, which are optional as of now.
The UAE is also on the verge of purchasing a complete package of Boeing Co EA-18G Growlers. These can be an electronic form of the two-seater F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft used in wars. The main operations of growlers happen in the US and also in Australia.
The UAE is one of the closest allies of Washington in the Middle East region. It has been very keen on procuring F-35 jets. In order to mend the relations with Israel UAE accepted this opportunity. An informal notification involving 50 Lockheed Martin Co F-35 jets was created on Oct 29.
However, the US needs to keep in mind that any arms deal with the middle eastern nations should not harm Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” according to which Israel is bound to receive the US’s supreme quality weapons than what its neighbors receive.