Israel’s security cabinet has approved the purchase of 17 more F-35 fighters, according to a government statement cited by local media. The news comes shortly before the expected arrival of the first two Israeli F-35s (AS-1 and AS-2) at Nevatim Air Base, scheduled for mid-December.
The additional purchase follows the signature, in September, of a new 10-year security assistance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement between the U.S. and Israel. The total value of the new MOU, which covers FY2019- FY2028, is $38bn ($3.8bn per year). It includes $33bn in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds and an unprecedented $5bn commitment in missile defence assistance.
Israel became the first country to select the F-35 through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales process when a Letter of Agreement was signed in October 2010, and it will be the first foreign partner to receive the aircraft. The initial Israeli order was for 33 F-35As.
The first Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-35A made its maiden flight from the F-35 production facility on 25th July, one month after the official rollout ceremony.
Israel's contribution to the F-35 programme includes Israel Aerospace Industries F-35A wing production; Elbit Systems work on the Generation III helmet-mounted display system, which all F-35 pilots will wear; and Elbit Systems-Cyclone F-35 center fuselage composite components production.