A Ministry of Defense procurement delegation in the US last week completed Israel's acquisition to 17 more F-35 stealth fighters, thereby bringing Israel's total procurement to date to two squadrons. Each squadron will have 25 planes.
A cabinet procurement committee had already approved the procurement of the 17 F-35s. Delivery of the planes will be completed by late 2024. The air force has already received five of the planes in recent months, with two more scheduled for delivery in the coming days and an additional two in October.
The 17 planes now ordered are Israel's third purchase of Stealth fighters. For the first time, the price per plane will be less than $100 million, compared with $125 million per plane in the first procurement in 2011 and $110 million in the second in 2015. A defense sources estimated that the price in the current purchase would be just over $90 million per plane.
Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman said, "Completion of the deal for purchasing the stealth fighter constitute a significant and strategic addition of force for the air force. The two F-35 squadrons, the apex of technology, will help the IDF cope with the security challenges facing Israel."
Defense Control Agency head Dubi Lavi, who heads the procurement delegation in the US, said, "US manufacturer Lockheed Martin undertook to lower the price per plane for each series of planes exported. They are now substantially cheaper than the planes purchased by Israel up until now."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on August 27, 2017
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