Israeli Air Force Adds 12th F-35 Fighter
The Israel Defense Forces received another batch of stealthy F-35 aircraft Sunday, bringing its total inventory of the fifth-generation fighters up to a dozen.
Lockheed Martin dropped off three more F-35I “Adir” jets to the Israeli Air Force Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The IAF has confirmed that it will buy at least 50 F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin, but it’s not clear if the country will procure more than that. For their part, US service branches have committed to buying thousands of units, a figure that will likely never come to fruition due to the aircraft’s history of cost overruns and missed deadlines.
An internal Pentagon analysis concluded in March that unless the US Air Force can find ways to reduce F-35 operation and support costs by 38 percent over the next decade, the service will only be able to acquire about two-thirds of the 1,763 aircraft it wants.
Beyond the 50 F-35s that Israel has already allocated funding for, Israeli lawmakers have pumped the brakes on future purchases of 25 to 50 more jets requested by the IAF. In
September 2017, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee released a report calling for the IDF to conduct an “analysis of alternatives” that might reveal options for the IAF that don’t include buying more than 50 F-35 Adirs in total.
“With all the existing limitations, we cannot ignore the need to meticulously assess the face of the future, especially with regard to air combat platforms, which are so expensive, critical and [subject to] rapidly changing technologies,” Israeli lawmakers wrote in the September 27 report.