Israel orders more F-35 warplanes from the US
ISRAEL will order 17 more US-made F-35 warplanes to take its fleet of stealthy Joint Strike Fighters to 50 over the next few years, the prime minister’s office said.
A statement from Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the green light for the order was given by the security cabinet and that the Jewish state is due to take delivery of its first F35s next month.
US officials and industry executives insist the plane promises to become the ultimate stealth fighter jet, able to evade enemy radar while flying at supersonic speeds. Outfitted with elaborate software, the F-35 resembles a flying computer.
Through the visor of a hi-tech helmet linked to on-board cameras, the pilot can “see” through the cockpit floor to the ground below – providing a 360-degree view.
Israeli public radio said the purchase will come under the US military aid program. In September, President Barack Obama signed off on a 10-year military aid package for Israel worth US$38 billion, the largest in US history.
Public radio reported Mr Netanyahu as saying that by ordering 17 additional F-35s, the government “intends to act to strengthen Israel’s security and ensure its existence in the coming decades”.
Israeli leaders have justified the acquisition of the F-35 by raising the spectre of its arch-foe Iran.
The Fordo site, built into a mountain near the city of Qom, has stopped enriching uranium since the January implementation of a nuclear deal between the Islamic republic and world powers.
The July 2015 agreement removed some international sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran’s controversial atomic program.
Mr Netanyahu has lambasted the landmark deal with Iran as a “historic mistake”, and has repeatedly threatened to take military action if necessary to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. –
F-35 Lightning II joint striker fighter aircraft zoom through the sky.