Netanyahu Hints at Acquiring F-35B Fighter or V-22 Hybrid Copter

© AP Photo / Tsafrir AbayovIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at his office in Jerusalem, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at his office in Jerusalem, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. - Sputnik International
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested Thursday that Israel is looking into buying US-made next generation vertical takeoff aircrafts.

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Netanyahu dropped the hint of Israel's intention to purchase vertical takeoff aircrafts during his speech at US Independence Day event in Israel on Thursday, June 30th.

"I'm deeply grateful for the political and military support America has given Israel over the years and indeed just now. We came from the Air Force cadets [graduation ceremony], and we saw our magnificent young men and women flying those machines. They're American machines," he said, referring to the controversial F-35 fighter jets.

Netanyahu's gratitude surely sounds pretty optimistic, regarding a long record of problems and malfunctions that plague F-35 relatively short history.

He also pointed out that Israel is interested in purchasing more weaponry.

"We appreciate the latest machine, the F-35. We'll talk about the other versions we want. Vertical takeoff, that's a hint," he said.

Netanyahu may have been referring to one of the main models of the F-35 fighter jet called F-35B, which features short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities, often mistakenly referred to as VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing). According to F-35 website, this war machine can be bought for some modest $104 million per unit. The only minor setback is that the machine is sold (and, accordingly, priced) without the engine.

There is also, however, another option. According to Defense News, the Israeli Prime Minister may have been referring to the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor VTOL. Developed in 1989, this machine was not introduced until 2007, as the exotic design took almost two decades of flight testing and design alteration. This machine, albeit slightly slower (about 500 km/h compared to F-35's Mach 1.6 or almost 2000 km/h) cost is estimated at just $72.1 million per unit.

Talking about protracted negotiations toward a new agreement on the next decade of US security assistance to Israel, for which he is being criticized both by his own government and opposition politicians, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "I hope that we'll conclude a memorandum of understanding for the invaluable American support for Israel's defenses for the next decade". Well, in case of warplanes, the support is obviously quite valuable.


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