IDF's shopping cart: Israel to buy F-35s, Iron Dome missiles and advanced weaponry amid war

Pending US aid package earmarked to finance establishment of new fighter jet and helicopter squadrons, and will allow Israel to retire outdated ones, thereby reducing maintenance costs

Yuval Azulay|
Against the backdrop of the Gaza war, Israel is poised to finalize an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to acquire 25 additional F-35 aircraft in the coming days or weeks.
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This procurement will augment the existing 50 F-35s already ordered, 39 of which have been delivered. With three more planes expected by summer, Israel anticipates having at least three squadrons of F-35s in its arsenal before the decade concludes. The transaction's value is estimated at around $3 billion and will be funded through the annual $3.8 billion security aid provided by the United States.
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מטוס F-35 של צבא ארה"ב
מטוס F-35 של צבא ארה"ב
F-35 aircraft
(Photo: Reuters/Jana Rodenbusch)
In addition to the standard annual aid, Israel is eyeing a special assistance package proposed by U.S. President Joe Biden totaling approximately $14.6 billion. Despite hurdles in Congress, attributed to Republican opposition, Israel remains optimistic about the aid's approval.
Plans are underway for an extensive procurement drive, with a focus on acquiring new weaponry from American defense industries. This includes the establishment of a fourth squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35s and two additional squadrons of advanced Boeing F-15 AI fighter jets. The acquisition of approximately 100 new fighter jets will allow Israel to retire outdated F-15 and F-16 squadrons, thereby reducing maintenance costs.
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כיפת ברזל
כיפת ברזל
Iron Dome battery
(Photo: Tal Shahar)
The special aid package, once approved, is expected to finance the acquisition of at least one squadron of Boeing's E-model Apache helicopters, with the possibility of purchasing another squadron later in the decade. These helicopters will replace outdated Apache models that have served in the Israeli Air Force for over three decades.
The decision to expand the fleet of combat helicopters comes in response to the October 7 Hamas terror attack, highlighting the crucial need for such assets. In the past decade, helicopter units were somewhat neglected in favor of UAV development.
Moreover, beyond aircraft, amidst some partners in Benjamin Netanyahu's government criticizing and mocking the American president, the extensive aid program to Israel also includes significant quantities of various armaments. These armaments will greatly enhance the Israeli Air Force's capabilities, encompassing advanced and precise air-to-ground missiles, bunker-penetrating bombs, and thousands of interceptors for Israel's primary air defense systems, Iron Dome and David's Sling.
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