The Israeli cabinet has formally approved the purchase of 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the nation’s air force. The value of the deal will be around $2.75 billion.

The decision was made after a series of talks between US and Israeli officials. These focused on issues including the extent to which Israel will be allowed to instal its own electronic warfare equipment, and the level of industrial involvement that its defence industry will be granted in return for the order.

Sources suggest that the value of immediate offsets linked to the buy will total over $2 billion.

Confiriming the deal’s approval on 16 September, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This aircraft is crucial to the defence of Israel.” The nation’s defence ministry had in mid-August recommended that the contract go forward.

F-35A - Lockheed Martin 
© Lockheed Martin

Israeli pilots are expected to begin training on the new type in 2015, with the first aircraft deliveries to take place the following year. The service’s interest is in the conventional take-off and landing F-35A.

For more on the Joint Strike Fighter programme, visit our dynamic landing page.