JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel said Sunday it will purchase 14 additional next-generation F-35 fighter jets for approximately $3 billion.
The deal adds to the fleet of 19 U.S-made jets already purchased in 2010, the Defense Ministry said. The recent signing with Lockheed Martin Corp. includes an option for 17 more in the future. The first such planes are to arrive in Israel in late 2016.
The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program, with an estimated cost of nearly $400 billion. The program aims to replace a wide range of existing aircraft for the U.S. and several partner countries.
Israel plans for the stealth jet, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, to replace its fleet of F-16 warplanes and maintain its aerial dominance in the region.