19:01 GMT23 January 2021
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    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz told Ynet news portal that Tel Aviv needs to buy one more squadron of US stealth F-35 fighter jets.

    "Without doubt, we need to expand the F-35 array. Right now we have two squadrons. I reckon we will expand that. That is what I requested of the Americans", Gantz said.

    The news outlet said citing defence officials that the two squadrons already ordered by Israel consist of 50 planes.

    "I would buy another F-35 squadron and then examine what to do with the balance - continuing to expand the F-35 (procurement), going for F-15s?" the minister added.

    Gantz also expressed hope that the deal on procurement of the third squadron of F-35 could be clinched before US President Donald Trump steps down on 20 January.

    Built by US-based global aerospace company Lockheed Martin, F-35 and its variants are deployed by a number of nations, including Australia, Belgium, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom. Israel remains the only country in the Middle East to purchase the jets.

    Tags:
    defence, jets, fighter, F-35, Israel
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