According to media reports, U.S. President Barack Obama offered to add
20 F-35s to the 20 Israel ordered in October under a $2.75 billion contract.
The additional F-35s would give the Israeli air force a formidable
strike capability unmatched in the region, and indeed the world, that
could deliver massive blows against an adversary, such as Iran.
“The offer by President Obama is very enticing,” Haaretz commentator Amos Harel observed.
Israel has reportedly taken delivery of the first batch of 1,000 new
U.S. 250-pound GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs it ordered in 2009. The
SDBs, manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, can be carried
by Boeing F-15s or Lockheed F-16s.
The bombs can penetrate 8 feet of concrete, making them ideal for
strikes on Hezbollah’s rocket bunkers and underground command posts in
The offer of another 30 F-35s for Israel, which will be the first
foreign state to acquire the fifth-generation fighter, could mean it
will get the jets before U.S. forces do.
Israel, along with the United Arab Emirates and India, led the world
over the last five years in the procurement of new fighter aircraft,
according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute issued last week.
It said Israel bought 82 aircraft in 2005-10, mostly Lockheed Martin
F-16I jets tailored for its air force, preceded by the emirates with
108 and India with 115.