Israel inks deal to buy 25 more F-35 fighter jets for $3 billion

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

52 F-35 jets line up for a launch exercise at Utah's Hill Air Force Base in show of force and combat readiness amid US-Iran tensions, January 6, 2020. (US Air Force/R. Nial Bradshaw/Twitter screen capture)
52 F-35 jets line up for a launch exercise at Utah's Hill Air Force Base in show of force and combat readiness amid US-Iran tensions, January 6, 2020. (US Air Force/R. Nial Bradshaw/Twitter screen capture)

Israel’s Defense Ministry has officially signed a deal with the United States to procure a third F-35 fighter jet squadron.

The ministry says a delegation to the US signed on a letter of agreement a short while ago for the $3 billion deal that includes 25 stealth fighters built by Lockheed Martin.

The planes will begin to be delivered starting in 2028, in batches of three to five per year, the ministry says. The aircraft would bring the Israeli Air Force’s F-35i fleet to 75 in the coming years. Only 39 of Israel’s original order of 50 F-35s have so far been delivered.

The deal totals some $3 billion, financed by US military aid to Israel, the ministry says.

The signing comes following a mostly resolved row between Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich over the procurement. Smotrich had vetoed the signing until a Knesset committee tasked with looking at the defense budget was convened.

Most Popular