The IDF has ordered 14 additional F-35 stealth fighter planes from the U.S for about $3 billion. The deal for the planes was signed last week and was first approved by Israel’s Cabinet last November.
The latest acquition brings the total number of F-35s that the Israeli air force will have to 33. The first fighters will be delivered by the end of 2016 and the remainder are expected to be delivered over the next 6 years with the order completed by the end of 2021.
Produced by Lockheed Martin and known as the Lightning II, the F-35 is the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter. According to the manufacturer, it provides unmatched capabilities to military forces around the world, “elevating international security by allowing for more integrated coalition operations.”
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth capabilities with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
The head of an Israeli defense delegation to the U.S. told Globes, “The first two F-35 planes purchased by the Ministry of Defense will land in Israel towards the end of 2016, and more planes will be supplied each year until 2021. We have always insisted, and will continue to insist, that as many Israeli industries as possible be included in the project, and that a maximum of a budget allocations be returned to the Israel defense industry for the development and production of special Israel capabilities and weapons.”
Israeli air force Brigadier General Lihu Hacohen said, “This stealth aircraft has considerable impact even before its arrival: It strengthens our deterrence. This strong and advanced aircraft is about to enter the Middle East and here it means a lot.”