Israel Finalizes Agreements to Buy 17 More F-35 Jets (excerpt)
(Source: Times of Israel; published August 27, 2017)
By Judah Ari Gross
Israel finalized its agreement to buy 17 more advanced F-35 stealth fighters from Lockheed Martin on Sunday, the Defense Ministry said, which will bring the air force’s fleet of the aircraft to 50.

The initial decision to purchase the 17 additional F-35 fighters was made by the security cabinet in November 2016, but it took an additional nine months to hammer out the agreement with the United States and Lockheed Martin.

Israel is currently in possession of five F-35 stealth fighters, the first of them delivered in December 2016, and the air force will continue to receive the remaining 45 in small batches over the next few years.

The initial order of 33 F-35 jets is expected to be completely delivered by 2021. The new batch of 17 airplanes is set to arrive by December 2024, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

According to the air force, the state-of-the-art aircraft are expected to be declared operational by next year.

“Completing the deal to acquire 17 F-35 planes represents a significant and strategic addition of strength to the air force,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement.

The defense minister also noted that this deal is further evidence of “how deep the connection and military relations are between the State of Israel and our great friend the United States.”

In its statement, the Defense Ministry would not specify the exact cost of the fighters, but it noted that for the first time, the F-35 jets will cost under NIS 358 million ($100 million) per airplane, which means the additional aircraft will likely set Israel back at least NIS 6.09 billion ($1.7 billion), not including the costs of additional maintenance and support equipment.


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Another Deal Was Signed for the Purchase of "Adir"
(Source: Israeli Ministry of Defense; issued Aug. 27, 2017)
(Issued in Hebrew; edited Google translation)
The purchasing delegation to the US Defense Department has completed the acquisition of 17 F-35s from the US government's Joint Strike Fighter program, completing the purchase of two full squadrons (50 aircraft) for the Israel Air Force The price of the plane dropped to less than $ 100 million.

Exercising the option to purchase an additional 17 planes was approved by the Cabinet, which sat as the ministerial committee for equipment. The purchase order was signed by the Director-General of the Ministry of Defense, Major General (Res.) Udi Adam. According to the contract, deliveries of the aircraft will be completed by December 2024.

In total, the Ministry of Defense purchased 50 F-35 "Adir" fighter jets. Five aircraft have landed so far in Israel, and 33 more will be supplied by 2021 to the Israeli Air Force (IDF) from the two previous deals. The fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter. The aircraft is manufactured in three variants: F-35A for regular takeoff and landing, F-35B for short takeoff and vertical landing, and F-35C for aircraft carriers. All 50 aircraft purchased by the Ministry of Defense for the Air Force are A variants, but they have incorporated unique capabilities and advanced Israeli weapons.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "The completion of the deal to purchase 17 additional F-35s is a significant and strategic addition to the air force, and the two pilots of the Adir are the technological summit, and will help the IDF and the Air Force deal with the many security challenges facing the State of Israel, and will be a central element in protecting the security of Israeli citizens along the borders and even away from them. The signing of the transaction is further evidence of the depth of the relationship and security relations between our great friend the United States and the State of Israel."

The head of the Defense Ministry delegation in the United States, Dubi Lavi, said: "This is the third giant deal to purchase the Adir aircraft that the Defense Ministry has signed in the last decade. In every series of planes that left the production line, the American manufacturer promised to lower the price of the plane. We are pleased to announce that in this transaction, the American project management managed to conduct successful negotiations with the company and reduce the average price of each plane to less than $ 100 million. This is a significant reduction compared to the planes purchased by the State of Israel so far. "

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