After a long decision making process, the Minister of Defence approved IDF and IAF’s recommendation to proceed with the purchase of the futuristic fighter jet, the F-35. “This aircraft has a special operational added value”, said the IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Ido NehUshtan. The deal still needs the cabinet’s approval.
The Minister of Defence, Ehud Barak, approved today (Sunday) in principle the military recommendation to purchase 20 F-35 jets from the United States. The F-35 Lighting is a fifth-generation, single-seat fighter jet, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, and is considered the most advanced jet in the world. Designed as a multi-role aircraft, it is suitable for defence and interception missions.
The jets are expected to arrive only in 2015, but Israeli pilots will be able to begin training as early as this year on training models in the states.
In an interview to the IAF’s magazine in June, the air force commander said: “The F-35 aircraft has a special operational added value. We are studying its unique characteristics, and believe that it has a special place in our force. Fighter jets have traditionally served as a central deterrent. There will be a great strategic advantage in being the first to have this aircraft. Presently, we are in the process of analyzing its system’s suitability to our needs, and finalizing the deal. When the time comes for making the decision, we will make it”.