Israel Signs Order for 17 Additional F-35s

Israel's Ministry of Defense recently sent a letter to the US Department of Defense to complete the purchase of 17 F-35 jets, Israel's Walla News reported on Thursday. Each plane costs approximately US$100 million.

The acquisition was first announced in November 2016, and brings the total number of F-35s purchased by Israel to 50.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East to have the jet, which was not included in the recent arms deal signed between the US and Saudi Arabia. The plane has a range of 1,300 miles and can carry up to 8,200 kg of weapons.

The Israeli version of the F-35, the "Adir", had its first test flight at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas in July 2016. Five of the planes are currently in operation out of southern Israel's Nevatim air base, with two more due to arrive in August, a further two in September, and nine additional planes in 2018.

Israel is also expected to receive a test plane for experimenting with new technologies.

The plane, built by Lockheed Martin, is the most expensive in history. Proponents tout its radar-dodging stealth technology, supersonic speeds, close air-support capabilities, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparalleled access to information.


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