The United States is rapidly building an international community based around the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The military value of such a community is indisputable. The F-35 will be one of the pillars supporting the creation of a new, sensor-rich way of warfare. But as the negotiations that led to the opening of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) demonstrated, potential international sales of the F-35 can provide significant diplomatic leverage as well. Moreover, experience has shown that operating the same platform and training with it alongside the same planes from other nations can bring militaries closer together. By managing the quality of the software and types of weapons available on the UAE’s fighters, the U.S. should be able to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge. I have written a commentary on the F-35 international program here.
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