Israel buys 17 new F-35 fighter jets

by WorldTribune Staff, August 27, 2017

Israel’s Defense Ministry last week completed a deal to purchase 17 F-35 “Adir” fifth-generation fighter jets from the U.S. government.

“The signing of the transaction is further evidence of the depth of the relationship and security relations between our great friend the United States and the State of Israel,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in response to the deal’s completion.

Israel has thus far taken delivery of five F-35s. / IAF photo

The F-35 is manufactured in three models: Model A for regular takeoff and landing, Model B for short takeoff and vertical landing, and C for aircraft carrier operations. All of the F35s purchased by Israel are Model A, but have integrated unique capabilities and advanced Israeli weapons, Arutz Sheva reported on Aug. 27.

Five F-35s have landed so far in Israel, and the Israel Air Force (IAF) will have, from two previous deals, a total of 33 by 2021.

The deal reached last week brings to 50 the number of F-35s Israel has purchased, enough for two full squadrons for the IAF. The 17 F-35s under the new deal will be delivered by 2024.

“The completion of the purchase of 17 additional F-35s is a significant and strategic addition to the air force, and will help the IDF and Air Force cope with the many security challenges we face at the doorstep of the State of Israel, and act as a central element in protecting the security of Israeli citizens along the borders and even away from them,” Liberman said.

“We are pleased to announce that in this transaction, the U.S. project manager managed to conduct successful negotiations with the company and reduce the average price of each plane to less than $ 100 million,” said Dubi Lavi, the head of the Defense Ministry’s delegation in the United States. “This is a significant reduction compared to the planes purchased by the State of Israel so far.”

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