Israel has finalized a deal with the US to purchase 17 more F-35 fighter jets, which will bring the Israeli Air Force’s fleet of the aircraft to 50. Israeli Defense Minister: “This is a significant and strategic addition of strength to the air force.”
F-35 jet Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit/Channel 2 News
It was announced on Sunday that the Israeli Defense Ministry has finalized a deal with the US to purchase an additional 17 F-35 fighter jets. For the first time, the price for this type of aircraft is under $100 million. After receiving the jets, the Israeli Air Force’s fleet of F-35 jets will stand at 50.
The Defense Ministry’s purchasing delegation in the US finalized the deal over the weekend. The 17 planes will be bought from the US government’s Joint Strike Fighter program.
The Israeli security cabinet approved the purchase of the 17 jets in 2016. According to the agreement, the aircraft are slated to arrive by December 2024.
“This is a significant and strategic addition of strength to the air force,” said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The minister added that the F-35 squadrons will “assist the IDF and the air force in dealing with the many security challenges that the State of Israel is facing.”
The Israeli Defense Ministry has purchased a total of 50 F-35 jets. Five have already landed in Israel. By 2021, the Israeli Air Force will have received 33 of the jets from the two previous deals.