Loren Thompson was quoted extensively for a recent article by DefenseNews that paints an uncertain future for F-35 acquisition by certain Gulf states. “The Persian Gulf countries have been on [F-35 manufacturer] Lockheed Martin’s radar screen for years, but at the moment, I don’t think that any sale proposals are imminent,” Thompson said, referring to the impact of Turkey’s recent purchase of Russian S-400 missiles.
“The UAE would be the most likely candidate, but especially given what has happened with Turkey on the F-35 it just doesn’t seem likely that a deal would happen soon,” he added. Thompson also noted that though it “seems obvious” that any country wanting to acquire the F-35 would not be in the market for Russian air defense systems, Turkey’s S-400 purchase points to a separate, equally worrisome issue. “If any other country in the region was operating Russian air defenses,” he said, “that itself might have some implications for the security of the F-35 technology.”
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