The Israel Ministry of Defence (IMOD) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have revealed their intention to acquire a third squadron of “Adir” F-35 fighter jet, marking a significant expansion of Israel’s aerial capabilities. The original order for 50 F-35s has already seen 36 units delivered. Israeli Minister of Defence, Yoav Gallant, has granted approval to the recommendation put forth by IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defence, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Eyal Zamir, and Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, to procure the additional F-35 squadron for the IDF.
Under the agreement, the Ministry of Defence will acquire a total of 25 F-35 aircraft from Lockheed Martin, which will be manufactured with the support of the American government. This acquisition will bolster the Israeli Air Force’s fleet, adding a total of 75 of these cutting-edge stealth aircraft. With Minister Gallant’s approval, the IMOD Mission to the USA will initiate the issuance of an official letter of request (LOR) to the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO), streamlining the approval process and facilitating the finalization of the transaction in the coming months.
The estimated value of the deal stands at approximately USD 3 billion, and it will be financed through American aid funds. As per the original agreement, Lockheed Martin and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney have committed to involving Israeli defense industries in the production of aircraft components. This new agreement reinforces the ongoing collaboration between American companies and Israeli defense industries, ensuring their continued cooperation in the production of aircraft parts.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It is also able to provide electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Lockheed Martin is the prime F-35 contractor, with principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. The aircraft has three main variants: the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A, the short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35B, and the carrier-based (CV/CATOBAR) F-35C.