Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Israel inks $3B deal for more F-35 stealth fighters

Israel’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday signed a significant agreement with the United States to procure a third squadron of F-35 stealth fighter jets.

The deal, valued at $3 billion, will provide 25 advanced fighters manufactured by Lockheed Martin, financed through U.S. military aid to Israel.

The new jets will be delivered starting in 2028, in batches of three to five per year. This acquisition will increase the Israeli Air Force’s F-35I fleet to 75, adding to the 39 F-35s already delivered from the initial order of 50.

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Defense Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized the importance of this deal, stating that the additional fighter jets represent the strength of the strategic alliance between the U.S. and Israel, impacting regional and global arenas. Lockheed Martin also expressed satisfaction with Israel’s decision to enhance its fleet.

This agreement follows a resolved disagreement between Gallant and Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich, who had delayed the signing pending a Knesset committee review of the defense budget.

Israel, the second country after the U.S. to receive F-35s from Lockheed Martin, has been allowed to modify these advanced aircraft. As part of the deal, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, the engine manufacturer, have committed to involving Israeli defense industries in producing components for the jets.

The Israeli Air Force received its first two F-35I jets in December 2016, and the aircraft was declared operational about a year later. Israel was the first country to use the F-35 operationally, conducting bombing raids with the stealth fighter known locally as the Adir.

The fifth-generation F-35 has been praised for its advanced offensive and stealth capabilities, as well as its ability to connect with other aircraft, forming an extensive information-sharing network.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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