Israel is ensuring that it maintains an edge over its enemies in the region for years to come.
Israel’s cabinet on Sunday unanimously voted to purchase another 17 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 stealth jets from the US, expanding the Israel’s Air Force (IAF) fleet of F-35’s to 50.
“The government that I lead is working to strengthen Israel’s power in order to ensure the country’s existence for the coming decades. Israel will be able to defend itself, by itself, against any enemy, in any area,” stated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli officials believe this further expansion of the IAF’s fleet will help maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge over its Mideast neighbors for years to come.
Israel is among a small number of US allies to receive the plane, with the first F-35s expected to arrive in Israel by the end of the year.
The F-35, known as the “Adir” (mighty) in Israel, is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, estimated to cost nearly $400 billion. Each plane costs an average of $110 million.
A senior Israeli air force official described the arrival of the F-35 as a game-changing development that will give Israel a “strong and effective tool” in dealing with challenges across the region.
“The IDF’s military strength is Israel’s main pillar of defense. The F-35s will dramatically enhance the IDF’s military power,” said Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman in June during the unveiling ceremony of the first Adir. “Israel is the first country outside the US to receive these operational, excellent airplanes. The F-35 technology represents the crown jewel of air-power superiority and will therefore be a great contribution to the IDF’s air force.”
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News