The incoming administration of President Joe Biden has temporarily paused some pending arms sales to U.S. allies in order to review them, a U.S. State Department official said on Wednesday.
Reviews of this sort are typical for an incoming administration, but Donald Trump's administration was doing deals down to the wire, including a deal for 50 stealthy F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin as a side deal to the Abraham accords inked only moments before Biden was sworn into office.
The hold will impact sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Department is temporarily pausing the implementation of some pending U.S. defense transfers and sales under Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales to allow incoming leadership an opportunity to review, the official said. The F-35 jets are a major component of a $23 billion sale of high-tech armaments from General Atomics, Lockheed and Raytheon Technologies Corp to the UAE announced this fall.
On a post earnings conference call with investors on Tuesday, Raytheon's management said "with the change in administration, it becomes less likely that we're going to be able to get a license" for a direct commercial sale of offensive weapons worth about $500 million to a middle east customer. Raytheon did not give the name of the customer.
Representatives for the UAE and Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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