July 2, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel to Buy Third F-35 Squadron

July 2, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel to Buy Third F-35 Squadron

Latest Developments

Israel’s Defense Ministry on July 2 green-lit the procurement of a third squadron of F-35 warplanes. The 25 new planes, worth $3 billion, will be financed by U.S. defense grants to Israel, the ministry said. They will bring the Israel Air Force’s (IAF) F-35 fleet to 75. The purchase is expected to go through in the coming months after Israel files an official letter of request to the F-35 Lighting II Joint Program Office.

The F-35, made by Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter and, in Israel, as “Adir” — Hebrew for “mighty.” According to the ministry’s statement,

U.S. firms will be involved with Israeli defense industries to produce components for the purchased planes.

In December 2016, Israel became the first country outside of the United States to acquire the F-35, an advanced and mission-versatile stealth jet. In May 2018, then-Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said that Israel became the first country to use the plane in combat, telling his foreign counterparts that the Jewish state employed Adirs in attacks on two different fronts. He did not name the Adirs but displayed a photograph of an Adir overflying Beirut.

Expert Analysis

“The growth of Israel’s F-35 fleet is a resounding endorsement by an ally that has battle- and budget-tested this premier American aircraft.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The F-35 provides Israel with unique capabilities to ensure its qualitative military edge and confront threats both near and potentially not-so-near. As Israel’s fleet grows, its defense relationship with the United States grows with it.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Related Analysis

With an Eye on Adversaries, the U.S. and Israel Conduct Major Military Exercise,” by Bradley Bowman and Ryan Brobst

Despite Coronavirus, U.S. and Israel Conduct Combined F-35 Exercise,” by Bradley Bowman and Mikhael Smits


Israel Military and Political Power