U.S. and Israeli Defense Chiefs Agree on Deal for Second F-35 Squadron

IAF had been seeking additional squadron; pact must be approved by Israeli government

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
This undated photo provided by Northrop Grumman Corp., shows a pre-production model of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
This undated photo provided by Northrop Grumman Corp., shows a pre-production model of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.Credit: AP
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and his U.S. counterpart, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, have agreed to a deal under which Israel will purchase a second squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft.

The deal is subject to approval by the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Security Affairs and by the government.

Israel has already purchased 19 of the aircraft, at a cost of $2.75 billion. The first two of those F-35s are due to arrive in Israel by the end of 2016 and the rest should be delivered by 2018.

The second squadron of planes will number at least 20.

Infrastructure is already being built at the Nevatim airbase, where the aircraft are to be housed. The air force says that in the coming year it will begin establishing the new squadron, with the training of Israeli air crews to follow.

The air force has said that it wanted another F-35 squadron. Senior air force officials said that the new fighter jet, known as the Adir in the IDF, will sharply strengthen the air force’s capabilities. The general staff also supported the proposal.

The Walla news site reported this morning on the agreement reached between Hagel and Ya’alon.

Next week, the Pentagon’s head of the F-35 project will visit Israel to inaugurate production of the F-35 wings. An agreement between Israel Aircraft Industries and Lockheed Martin calls for IAI to produce 811 pairs of aircraft wings for the U.S. firm.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin have also agreed in principle that the company will manufacture 43 more F-35 aircraft according to a formula that is expected to lower the aircraft frame cost by 3 1/2%. The pricing details in the accord should be publicized when the contract is finalized. Two of these aircraft will be designated for Israel, as part of the 19 that were already purchased. These planes were acquired with the U.S. aid that is transferred to Israel annually.

The first planes designated for the second squadron are expected to start arriving in 2019. The Defense Ministry says the previous government concluded that Israel had the potential to purchase aircraft for three squadrons.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer