image Photo: IDF

Israel to expand aerial fleet

Israel is reportedly hoping to bolster national aerial defense with the acquisition of new aircraft and munitions from the United States.

“A ministerial procurement committee has approved the purchase of a new F-35 squadron, four new refueling planes, and a large quantity of munitions,” an Israeli official said on condition of anonymity.

Details of the prospective billion-dollar deal are reportedly still under negotiation. Israel has been considering the acquisition of up to 25 F-35s made by Lockheed Martin for some time, as well as Boeing KC-46 refueling planes.

If advanced, the agreement would mark the first Foreign Military Sale to Israel announced under the government of US President Joe Biden, although its origin is likely to date back to the Trump Administration as such deals take months to process.

The Biden Administration temporarily paused some pending arms sales to US allies such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in order to review them.

Although the Israelis have approved the purchase, the US Congress requires notification of major weapons sales before a contract can be signed.