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Israeli Air Force expands fleet with 25 additional F-35 fighter jets

Photo: Israeli Air Force

The Israeli Ministry of Defense, through a new purchase agreement with the US government, revealed its acquisition of 25 “Adir” F-35 aircraft on July 2.

The forthcoming deal, valued at around 3 billion dollars and financed through American aid funds, will involve prime contractors Lockheed Martin, responsible for the aircraft, and Pratt & Whitney, the engine manufacturer, as outlined in the initial agreement between the governments.

Israeli Air Force fleet will be expanded to 75 fifth-generation fighters through the new procurement, solidifying Israel’s position as the second-largest F-35 operator worldwide, surpassed only by Japan with 150 units on order.

The new deal ensures that Israeli companies will continue to be involved in the production of F-35 planes for other countries, as per the initial agreement.

Additionally, Israel has the unique advantage of using an F-35A as a test aircraft to integrate its indigenous technologies, making it the only country in the program authorized to modify the aircraft with its own electronic warfare systems, sensors, and countermeasures.

In 2010 Israel made history as the first country to choose the F-35 aircraft through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process. Building on this milestone, in 2016, the Israeli Air Force celebrated the reception of its inaugural F-35A during a ceremony held at the Fort Worth, Texas, F-35 factory.

This year, the Israeli Air Force made its debut in the Red Flag-Nellis 23-2 combat training exercise, showcasing their F-35I Adir fighters as they prepared for high-end warfighting and strategic competition alongside the US military and allied nations.