Israel Signs Deal with U.S. for Twenty-Five F-35s

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has announced it has signed a deal with the United States to purchase twenty-five F-35 fighter aircraft.The announcement reads below:

“The deal was signed by the head of the procurement delegation, Brig. Gen. (res.) Michel Ben-Baruch, and includes 25 F-35 aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, including support and maintenance. Upon completion of the deal, the Israeli Air Force will expand to 75 of the most advanced stealth aircraft in the world. The supply of aircraft to the IDF will begin in 2028 at a rate of 3-5 aircraft per year.”

The deal is reported to be worth about 3B USD.

Israel became a partner in the international F-35 program in December 2017 when it bought its first nine. By May 2018, Israel had claimed to be the first country to use them in combat. As of November 2022, Israel had 36 F-35s in active service deployed through three combat squadrons at Nevatim Air Base (140th, 116th, and the 117th). It also employs a small number at the Flight Test Center at the Tel Nof Airbase.

This deal comes amidst strained tensions between the Biden Administration and the Netanyahu government over the ongoing war in Gaza.