Israel’s Ministry of Defence has completed the acquisition process of an additional seventeen F-35 stealth jets, officially giving the Israel Air Force two squadrons of the world’s most advanced fighter planes.
The purchase of the 17 additional planes, whose delivery will be completed by December 2024, was approved by the cabinet in November and the contract was signed by the Director General of the Ministry of Defence Major General (res) Udi Adam.
Israel, which has already received five F-35’s from the United States and is now testing them, will receive an additional two next week and another two by November, bringing the total of F-35’s in the IAF to nine. Known in Hebrew as “Adir” jets, Israel is expected to announce initial operation capability of the first squadron by December 7th.
Lockheed Martin was able to reduce the average price of each plane to less than $100 million which is seen as a significant reduction compared to the original price of $125 for the first 19 F-35’s.
A second deal of 14 jets cost Jerusalem $112 million per plane. The cost of the plane is expected to drop to around $80 million in the coming years.
The jet was designed to Israel’s own specifications and will be embedded with Israeli-made electronic warfare pods as well as Israeli weaponry, all set to be installed once the plane arrives in Israel.
Built in the United States by Lockheed Martin, the Israeli F-35s have components built by Israeli companies, including Israel Aerospace Industries who produced the outer wings, Elbit System-Cyclone that built the centre fuselage composite components and Elbit Systems Ltd which manufactured the helmets worn by the pilots.