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03:50 PM, December 1, 2014
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The Israeli cabinet authorized on Sunday the immediate purchase of 14 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets with the option of ordering 17 more in 2017, according to The Times of Israel.

The deal, which will cost upwards of $3 billion, was agreed by the US and Israel defense chiefs in late October, but required the ministers’ approval. 

Sunday’s decision approves the purchase of 14 additional aircraft, with an option for 17, and will see a total of up to 50 F-35 warplanes procured by the IDF in the coming years, according to the report.

Israel already ordered a first squadron of 19 F-35s in 2010 with a price-tag of $2.7 billion, funded by American military aid rebates. The first planes are expected to arrive in Israel in December 2016. 

Of the 14 aircraft whose purchase was approved Sunday, 13 are slated to become operational and one will be utilized for experimental purposes. The final 17 planes will require further rounds of cabinet debate, the report added.

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