Israel is set to receive today two US manufactured fifth generation F-35 stealth fighter that can evade advanced surface-to-air missile defense systems such as the Russian-made S-300s and S-400s deployed in Syria and Iran.
It has an extremely low radar signature, allowing it to operate undetected deep inside enemy territory. Israel has agreed to purchase 50 of the NIS 380 million ($100 million) jets from Lockheed Martin, The Jerusalem Post reported today.
The two planes expected today are only the beginning, with plans to receive a total of 50 ( two full squadrons ) by 2022. After the first two F-35s arrive, the air force will receive six to seven per year.
“The Israeli F-35 will become the first fifth-generation fighter jet in the Middle East and will give us a significant advantage compared to all the other players in the region,” IAF Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Tal Kalman said.
“The F-35 is poised to become a central pillar of Israel’s air strategy,” a senior air force official told reporters last month. The purchase of the planes is possible, in part, due to the billions of dollars in defense aid given by the United States to Israel each year, a large portion of which must go to buy US manufactured arms.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will attend the delivery ceremony of two US-manufactured fifth-generation F-35 stealth jets in Israel, Israeli Air Force (IAF) announced.