JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Security Cabinet has approved the purchase of 17 more F-35 fighter jets from the United States.
The purchase of the stealth jet, announced by the Prime Minister’s Office following a unanimous vote, will bring the number of next-generation planes in the Israeli Air Force to 50.
Each plane costs about $100 million. The purchase falls under the 10-year, $38 billion US military aid package for Israel signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in September. Most of the aid must be spent in the United States. The F-35 is built by Lockheed-Martin.
The first such plane is scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks, with two planes delivered by the end of the year. Six to seven will arrive in subsequent years, according to reports.
Only a limited number of U.S. allies have been allowed to purchase the plane. Washington has asserted that it would continue to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, especially in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal signed last year.