Israel’s Ministry of Defense will procure 25 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets from the US administration. The decision follows Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant’s approval of the recommendation of IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Ministry of Defense director general Eyal Zamir and Israel Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar to buy the aircraft. When the deal is completed, the Israel Air Force will have a fleet of three squadrons or 75 of the world’s most advanced stealth combat aircraft.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense procurement mission in the US will now issue a Letter of Request (LOR) to the US F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) with the aim of receiving all the required approvals and signing the deal within the next few months.
The deal will be worth an estimated $3 billion from US military aid budgeted for Israel. As part of the original agreement between the US and Israeli governments, the aircraft’s manufacturer Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, which produces the F-35’s engines, will allow Israeli manufacturers to participate in the production of equipment and parts.
The fifth generation F-35 has a top speed of Mach 1.6 (1,200 kilometers per hour). The stealth combat aircraft entered service in 2016 carries a 25 millimeter GAU 22 gun, two AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, and GBU-31 and GBU-12 guided air-to-surface bombs.
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