Israel Signs $3BN Deal With US For 25 F-35 Stealth Jets

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jun 06, 2024 - 06:45 AM

"At time when some of our adversaries aim to undermine our ties with our greatest ally, we only further strengthen our alliance," Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced Tuesday upon unveiling Israel's signing a new $3 billion deal with Lockheed Martin for 25 F-35 fighter jets.

"This sends a powerful message to our enemies across the region," he continued. This will add a third squadron of the advanced stealth fighters to the Israeli air force arsenal.

F-35 file image, European Defense Review

"The delivery of the aircrafts to the IDF (army) will commence in 2028 at a rate of three to five aircrafts per year," the defense ministry specified in a statement.

Once the contract is eventually fulfilled, this will bring the total number of F-35s in Israel's fleet to 75. Israel remains the only country in the Middle East to possess them. The deal was first introduced last summer, when the defense ministry said it was pursuing talks with the US over the transfer.

The newly inked contract underscores Washington's long-term commitment to Israel's defense and maintaining complete military technological superiority over enemies and rivals in the region, despite current tensions among the allies over the proposed Gaza ceasefire deal.

As we detailed previously, Israel was the first foreign recipient of the F-35, also known in the US as the Joint Strike Fighter and in Israel by its Hebrew name "Adir." Israel first used the F-35 in combat when it bombed Syria in 2018.

"The F-35 squadron has become an operational squadron," Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said at the time. "We are flying the F-35 all over the Middle East – we might be the first to attack with F-35 in the Middle East," he said.

Israel now uses these advanced fighters to regularly attack Syria, often firing from above Lebanese airspace. It has been able to attack what regional media often calls 'Iranian assets' in Syria with impunity. 

Already in 2024, Israel has attacked Syria over 40 times, most often in the south of the country - in and around the capital of Damascus.

Israel had for much of the last decade also covertly supported the US-Gulf regime change war against the Syrian state which had the aim of toppling President Bashar al-Assad.