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AIRSHOW-UAE military interested in 'fifth-generation' fighter jets

From Reuters - November 11, 2017

DUBAI, Nov 11 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates military is interested in fifth-generation fighter jets, a senior air force official said on Saturday.

Deputy Commander Rashed al-Shamsis comments indicate a possible preference for Lockheed Martin Corps F-35 which is the only Western-made jet that fully meets those requirements, according to its manufacturer.

We are interested in new technology ... and so to have a fifth-generation capability is something of interest to the UAE Air Force and Air Defense, al-Shamsi told reporters at a military conference in Dubai.

Fifth generation is a definition that varies according to each manufacturer but broadly includes advanced stealth capability and a high level of computerised connectivity between fighter jets.

The U.S. has sold the F-35 to a range of allies, including Turkey, South Korea, Japan, and Israel, but sales to the Gulf require a deeper review due to U.S. policy for Israel to maintain a qualitative military edge in the Middle East.

Al-Shamsi said the UAE had heard that the United States could now be willing to sell them the stealth fighter jet. The UAE is one of the U.S.s closest Middle East allies. It hosts American soldiers in the country, and has flown sorties against the so-called Islamic States as part of a U.S.-led coalition.

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