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Nov-10-2009 21:40TweetFollow @OregonNews
U.S. Close to Selling Israel 25 New $100 Million Jet FightersSalem-News.com
Israel is moving closer to acquiring F-35B stealth fighter jets from the United States.
(TEHRAN) - The Israeli Air Force recently submitted an official Letter of Request (LOR) to the Pentagon to purchase its first squadron of 25 F-35 stealth fighter jets.
Israeli defense officials say that negotiations regarding the final price of the plane -- estimated at around $100 million -- as well as the integration of Israeli systems would continue.
The LOR will be followed by the signing of a contract at the beginning of 2010. The first aircraft are scheduled to arrive in Israel in 2014.
The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the F-35, will be one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world and will enable Israel to phase out some of its older F-15 and F-16 models. The JSF is manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
The first stage of the deal will be the purchase of 25 aircraft, which will comprise the first Israeli F-35 squadron. In a later stage, the IAF plans to purchase an additional 50 aircraft, some of them with vertical take-off and landing capabilities, according to the Lockheed Martin website.
According to senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officers, the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Pentagon have reached understandings on most of the major issues that have been at the core of disagreement between the sides.
Israeli demands have focused on three issues -- the integration of Israeli-made electronic warfare systems into the plane, the integration of Israeli communication systems, and the ability to independently maintain the plane in the event of a technical or structural problem.
The fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine and multi-role fighter. The aircraft can conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions simultaneously with near impunity. The fighter is a truly transformational weapon system that provides quantum leaps in survivability and lethality.
The F-35 also carries a comprehensive sensor package that integrates vast amounts of accurate intelligence in a attempt to facilitate operations in the air, on the ground, at sea, or in space.
The single-engine F-35 Lightning II is manufactured in three variants: conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL), carrier variant (CV) as well as short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL).
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