After years of negotiations, Israel is moving ahead with plans to purchase 20 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters under an estimated $2.75 billion deal.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave his final approval Aug. 15 to buy the 5th generation jets, along with training and maintenance gear, using a $3 billion defense grant from the United States, Reuters reported.
The jets will not be outfitted with Israeli-built mission systems that it has long wanted to put on any F-35s it buys.
Final Israeli government approval for the deal is expected in September. The jets are to be delivered between 2015 and 2017 making Israel the first non-JSF partner nation to operate this fighter.