Israel's contract to purchase another 14 Lockheed Martin F-35 "Adir" fighters was signed late last week in Washington DC.
The Israeli air force and defence ministry had wanted to purchase 31 F-35Is, but strong opposition within the Israeli cabinet limited this number to 14 in the $2.82 billion deal. Each F-35 is being acquired for a unit cost of around $110 million, the defence ministry says.
The new contract also includes options for the 17 additional aircraft, plus funding for infrastructure such as simulators and to establish the capability to perform some maintenance activities in Israel. It also covers preparations for the installation of additional Israeli-developed systems in the aircraft.
Speaking on 23 February, defence ministry sources said efforts will continue to purchase the additional number of stealth aircraft that are required to match the operational needs of the Israeli air force.
In 2010, Israel signed a first order to purchase an initial 19 conventional take-off and landing F-35As. According to its defence ministry, the two first aircraft from this order will arrive in Israel at the end of 2016.
Israeli industrial participation in the F-35 programme includes the manufacturing of wings by Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems' involvement in producing its Vision Systems International helmet-mounted display system with Rockwell Collins.
Source: Flight International