Israel officially asks US to send over 25 more F-35 fighter jets

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

The Defense Ministry has submitted an official letter of request to the US military’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, to advance Israel’s procurement of a third F-35I squadron.

The additional 25 aircraft, to be delivered in batches of three beginning in 2027, would bring the Israeli Air Force’s F-35I fleet to 75.

The deal is estimated at $3 billion, financed by US military aid to Israel.

F-35 Lightning II Aircraft assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing, Burlington Air National Guard Base, prepare for takeoff, in Burlington, Vermont, April 13, 2022. (Staff Sgt. Cameron Lewis/U.S. Air National Guard via AP)

In July, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant okayed the deal, at the recommendation of the military.

The ministry says in a statement that the oficial request will “facilitate the approval and signing of the transaction in the coming months.”

Israel had previously agreed to purchase 50 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. They are being delivered in batches of twos and threes until 2024.

As of November 2022, 36 F-35I jets had been delivered.

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