Israel will purchase 17 more advanced F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, the Prime Minister’s Office said Sunday. The statement said the security cabinet voted unanimously to approve the purchase, adding that this brings the total number of F-35’s to be acquired to 50 aircraft – two full squadrons.
The total price of the deal has not yet been closed since it depends on the price of the relevant series of planes that the Defense Ministry will eventually close with the Lockheed Martin company that sells the planes. However, it is estimated that the final price of the deal, which also includes infrastructure and areas, will be $ 1.9 billion.
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The two previous deals for the previous 33 planes purchased by the Defense Ministry, which cost more than $100 million per plane, cost a total of $ 5.57 billion. The payment for the planes comes from US aid to Israel, which is about $ 3.1 billion, and most of the aid money is used by Israel to deal with American companies.
To date, five planes have landed in Israel, and by 2021 33 aircraft will be supplied to the IAF from the two previous deals. The aircraft is manufactured in three models: model A for regular takeoff and landing, model B for short takeoff and vertical landing, and C model for aircraft carriers. All 50 aircraft purchased by the Ministry of Defense for the Air Force are A-type, but they have incorporated unique capabilities and advanced Israeli weapons.
The acquisition of the F35 fighter Jets — “Adir” in Hebrew, meaning “awesome” or “mighty” — was widely criticized when hundreds of failures and problems in fighter planes were discovered during a debate in the US Congress, attended by US Defense Department Chief of Staff Dr. Michael Gilmour, who also claimed that by 2021 the plane might not be operational.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the completion of the deal constitutes “a significant and strategic addition to the air force, and that the two elite squadrons will be the technological summit, and will help the IDF deal with the many security challenges facing the State of Israel. Israeli citizens along the borders and even far away from them. The signing of the deal, “he added,” is further evidence of the depth of the relationship and the security relationship between our great friend the United States and the State of Israel. ”
The head of the Defense Ministry delegation in the United States, Dubi Lavi, said that “this is the third giant deal to purchase ‘Adir’ planes that the Ministry of Defense has signed in the past decade. In every series of planes that left the production line, the American manufacturer promised to lower the price of the plane. We are pleased to announce that in this transaction, the US project manager managed to conduct successful negotiations with the company and reduce the average price of each plane to less than $ 100 million. This is a significant reduction compared to the planes purchased by the State of Israel so far. ”