Israel to purchase an additional F-35 squadron

Defense minister approves acquisition estimated at $3 billion after IDF recommends expanding Israel's stealth fighter jet fleet to 75

Yossi Yehoshua|
The government on Sunday approved the purchase of a third squadron of F-35 aircraft bringing the total fleet of stealth fighter jets to 75. This significant deal, valued at an estimated three billion dollars, will be funded through American aid.
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Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved the purchase after the recommendation of the IDF, reaffirming a decision made two years ago, which led to the establishment of the squadron at the Nevatim air base in the south, initially serving as a training unit.
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מטוס F-35 של חיל האוויר, מפגן אווירי בסיום קורס טיס
מטוס F-35 של חיל האוויר, מפגן אווירי בסיום קורס טיס
F-35 fighter jet
(Photo: JACK GUEZ / AFP)
The Ministry of Defense had finalized plans to procure 25 more F-35 aircraft from Lockheed Martin, as confirmed by the Israeli government. The decision to opt for additional F-35s over an F-15I squadron was primarily decided by factors such as availability and the speed of delivery. However, preparations are also underway for the eventual purchase of an F-15I squadron, including necessary infrastructure developments.
The decision to acquire additional F-35 aircraft was initially made in 2021 by the ministerial committee for equipping the military, granting the IDF authorization to enter procurement agreements with the US for various platforms to be utilized by the Air Force.
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מטוסי הF35 של חיל האויר ייתנו מענה מבצעי לאיום טילי השיוט האיראניים
מטוסי הF35 של חיל האויר ייתנו מענה מבצעי לאיום טילי השיוט האיראניים
Lockheed Martin's stealth F-35 fighter jet
(Photo: Lockheed Martin)
This decision has now been approved by the government. Under the original agreement, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, the aircraft and engine manufacturers respectively, pledged to involve Israeli companies in the production of F-35 aircraft sold to other nations. The new deal ensures the ongoing collaboration between American companies and the Israeli defense industries in the production of aircraft components.
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