JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel has approved the purchase of a third squadron of F-35 stealth fighter jets in a deal worth $3 billion, the Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.
The additional 25 aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin will bring the number of F-35s in Israel's air force to 75, the ministry said, adding that the deal will be financed through the defense aid package Israel receives from the United States.
Israel was the first country outside the United States to acquire the F-35. In May 2018 its air force chief said that Israel was the first to use the plane in combat.
The F-35 is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter and in Israel by its Hebrew name “Adir” (Mighty).
Lockheed Martin and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney have agreed to involve Israeli defense companies in the production of aircraft components, the Israeli ministry added.
(Reporting by Ari RabinovitchEditing by Dan Williams and David Goodman)