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Israel to buy world`s most advanced warplane

Israel`s Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday approved the purchase of a fleet of US-built F-35 strike fighters in a move set to ramp up the capabilities of the Israeli Air Force.



Jerusalem: Israel`s Defence Minister Ehud
Barak on Sunday approved the purchase of a fleet of US-built F-35
strike fighters in a move set to ramp up the capabilities of
the Israeli Air Force.

The minister "approved in principle" a recommendation by
the military to purchase the F-35 or Joint Strike Fighter
(JSF), a statement from his office said.

Israel is initially expected to buy 20 of the aircraft in
a deal worth an estimated USD 2.75 billion, the top-selling
Yediot Aharonot daily said in several reports published last
week.

Should the deal be approved by the security cabinet, it
will be the most expensive weapons deal ever signed by the
Jewish state, it said.

"The F-35 is the fighter plane of the future which will
give the air force better short-range and long-range
capabilities which will help state security," Barak said in
the statement.

Delivery of the first F-35s, which are still not yet
operational, is expected only in 2015, the paper said.

The price includes the cost of setting up a logistical
infrastructure in Israel to allow local firms to assemble the
fighter plane and manufacture spare parts for it.

Udi Shani, defence ministry director general, said a key
element of the deal was an agreement which would allow Israeli
industries to get involved in the assembly of the plane and
the manufacture of spares.

"The considerations for approving the deal were not just
about the operational abilities of the plane but the
agreements for involving Israeli industries in the assembly of
the plane," the ministry quoted him as saying.

Acquisition of the F-35, which is made by US aerospace
and defence giant Lockheed Martin, will give Israel access to
stealth technology that will provide it with air superiority
over enemy anti-aircraft defences.

PTI

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