Israel will purchase an additional 17 Lockheed Martin F-35A stealth fighter aircraft, the Defense Ministry announced Sunday. The acquisition will bring the number of F-35s in service in Israel to 50 and complete the Israel Air Force’s second F-35 fighter wing, at a cost of under $100 million per aircraft.
The purchase was approved by the security cabinet and signed by Gen. (res.) Udi Adam, director general of the ministry. The planes will be delivered by the end of 2024.
The purchase of 17 additional F-35s will add significantly to our air force’s strength and strategy. Both “Adir” fighter wings will be the pinnacle of technology, and they will help IDF air and ground forces meet the security challenges faced by the State of Israel and will play a central role in the defending the security of Israeli citizens…. This purchase is yet more evidence of the depth of our security relationship with our great friend the United States,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said.
Lockheed Martin says the F-35 is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, and advanced sustainment. Three variants of the aircraft will replace the A-10 and F-16 fighter planes or the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries.
Israel has so far taken delivery of five F-35s, the first batch of a 33-plane order to be delivered by the end of 2021.