The purchase of the futuristic F-35 stealth fighter jet received the official seal of approval (Thursday). A ministerial committee headed by the Israeli Prime Minister, gave the “green light” on continuing the negotiations which will lead to the acquisition of the next-generation manned fighter jet by the Israeli Air Force
The Prime Minister and a ministerial committee accepted IDF’s recommendation to go ahead with the purchase of 20 F-35 “Lightning” Jets. The aircraft, produced by the American Lockheed Martin Company is considered to be the most advanced, multi-purpose fighter jet in the world. Its development commenced in 2003, and was a joint venture between Britain and America. The first aircraft is expected to arrive to Israel in 2015. Israeli pilots will begin training in USA as early as 2014.
The IAF commander, Major Gen. Ido Nehushtan who participated at today’s meeting along with the Chief of General Staff, said at an interview in June 2009 that “the F-35 jet has a special operational added value. As we study its features, we believe that it will set a new standard of its own. Fighter jets have always been a major element in the deterring force of our military. Deterring ability is really all you got, in addition to your willingness to deploy your force when necessary. The acquisition of the F-35, especially if we are the only one in the arena who has it, certainly has an important strategic value. At the moment we are in the process of testing it’s suitability to our needs, and negotiating the purchase deal. When the time comes to decide, we will do it”.
The Fighter jet, with only a few prototypes in existence at the time of writing, is about to become the main aircraft of air forces around the world. Conservative forecasts predict 3,000 – 6,000 units of the aircraft will be manufactured.