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Israel Requests U.S. Approval to Purchase More F-35 Aircraft

Israel has submitted an official request to the United States to purchase a third squadron of F-35 stealth combat aircraft, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant submitted a Letter of Request to the U.S. Department of Defense in order to sign the deal “in the next few months,” according to a statement released by the Israeli Defense Ministry.

The request follows a previous agreement, in which Israel agreed to buy from the United States 25 F-35 aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, in a deal that includes support and maintenance.

The ministry estimates that the value of the deal is about 3 billion U.S. dollars, which would be financed by U.S. security aid funds to Israel.

The first three jets of the new squadron are expected to arrive in Israel in 2027. Upon completion of the deal, the Israeli Air Force fleet will be expanded to 75 F-35 fighter jets.

Israel received its first F-35 jets in December 2016, becoming the first country in the Middle East to receive them.