Qatar has made an official request to the U.S. to buy stealthy F-35 fighter jets, Reuters reported on October 7, citing three sources with knowledge on the matter.
The Qatari embassy in Washington didn’t respond to a request for comment by the news agency. The U.S. Department of State declined to confirm or deny that an official request to buy F-35s was submitted by Doha.
“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,” a State Department spokesman told Reuters.
According to Reuters sources, the request for the F-35s, which is made by Lockheed Martin, was submitted by Qatar in recent weeks.
If approved, the deal will lead to serious tension between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a coalition against Qatar since 2017. The deal will also provoke Israel. Tel Aviv views any possible sale of F-35 fighter jets to Arab states as a threat to its qualitative military edge.
Last August, the U.S. agreed to discuss a possible deal to supply F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. Despite the recent peace agreement, Israel opposed the deal.
The F-35 is the most expensive weapons system in the U.S. history. According to the Pentagon’s selected acquisition report (SAR), the total cost of developing, building, operating and maintaining at least 2,457 F-35s ordered by the U.S. Army will exceed $1.5 trillion.
While many obstacles lay ahead of exporting F-35 fighter jets to Qatar or the UAE, the deals can be highly profitable for the U.S. military industrial complex.
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