Israel officially starts process to purchase 25 F-35 stealth aircraft

Israel officially started procedures for the purchase of 25 fighters of the US-manufactured F-35 stealth combat aircraft, according to the country’s defense ministry on Sunday.

In a statement, the Defense Ministry said it “will purchase from the American government 25 F-35 aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin in a deal that includes support and maintenance.”

Upon completion of the transaction, Israel's fleet of the F-35s "will be expanded to 75," the ministry said.

The deal’s cost is estimated at nearly $3 billion and will be funded from the American aid funds, the statement said.

Israel was the first country in the world to acquire the F-35 aircraft in 2016, and is still the only country in the Middle East to operate them.

Under a commitment by former US President Barack Obama, Israel was pledged to receive $38 billion in aid between 2017 and 2028.

Source: AA

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