Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is demanding to buy one more squadron of US stealth F-35 fighter jets.
“Without a doubt, we need to expand the F-35 array. Right now we have two squadrons. I reckon we will expand that. That is what I requested of the Americans”, Gantz told YNET news.
Citing unnamed defense officials, the two squadrons already ordered by Israel consist of 50 planes.
“I would buy another F-35 squadron and then examine what to do with the balance – continuing to expand the F-35 procurement going for F-15s?” the minister added.
Gantz also expressed hope that the deal on procurement of the third squadron of F-35 could be clinched before US President Donald Trump steps down on 20 January.
Built by US-based global aerospace company Lockheed Martin, F-35 and its variants are deployed by a number of nations, including Australia, Belgium, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom. Israel remains the only country in the Middle East to purchase the jets.