The deal, approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak last August, was signed on Thursday (Oct. 7) in New York
It is officially confirmed: at the ceremony held on Thursday (Oct. 7) in New York, the CEO of the Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Shani, signed the agreement between Israel and the US for the IDF purchase of the first operational squadron of F-35 aircrafts for an amount of $2.75 billion.
The delivery of the aircrafts, costing $96 million each, is scheduled to begin in 2015 and should last two years. The agreement was signed upon approval by the government, the Knesset and the Ministry of Defense.
“This is a historic event and a new era in Israel’s security and strategic strength which will allow Israel to maintain its military qualitative edge in order to cope with the challenges both near and far for many years; the deal also holds tremendous importance for the national economy through the manufacturer’s commitment to purchase billions of dollars worth of equipment from Israeli industries”, the CEO of the Defense Ministry said during the conference.
Shani added that it is Israel’s intention to acquire more aircraft of this type. “We have an option to purchase more aircrafts”, he noted, adding that “the deal is an additional expression of the strategic alliance and of our friendly relations with the United States, and of their support of the Israeli qualitative edge.”
The F-35 Lightning is the stealth fighter jet produced by the American Lockheed Martin company, and is considered to be the most advanced fighter jet developed in the world today.
It is a plane suitable for an extensive scope of missions, intended both for attack and interception, whose development began in 2003 in a joint initiative by the US and the UK.