The Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35A fighter jets will cost Israel about $110 million each, a price that will include logistical support, flight and ground crew training, replacement parts, and maintenance. The deal is part of Israeli plans to eventually equip it’s air force with 50 F-35 jets, forming two squadrons of 25 jets each.
According to a prior report, the software for the F-35’s primary gun, a 25-mm rapid-fire cannon, won’t be ready to install until at least 2019. The Pentagon has had to ground F-35s more than a dozen times due to problems with the plane’s Pratt & Whitney-made engine. Another issue is that the stealth jet is actually easy to detect. Most damning, an independent review by the RAND Corporation found that the plane “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.” Additionally, the plane was also found to shut down after sitting in the sun for a few hours as a result of the fuel getting to warm. (The military’s solution was to build parking shades.)
That hasn’t stopped officials from Israel’s Ministry of Defense visiting the US this weekend to sign the contract after a ministerial military procurement committee approved the deal last November.