Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he supports the purchase of a third squadron of F-35 warplanes from the United States of America, saying that the IDF is an institution that operates “365 days” a year.
In an interview with the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper website, Gantz said on Monday that the defense budget must be handled properly.
“Without a doubt, we need to expand the F-35 group that we have. We now have two squadrons. I think we will expand them. This is what I asked of the Americans,” he added.
“If it were up to me I would have bought a third squadron of the F-35,” he said. “Should I buy another F-35 or go for a less efficient F-15? There are professional considerations here that I will not mention in detail,” he said.
Israel purchased 50 F-35 fighters from the United States in 2016, to be delivered to the Israeli Air Force in succession over a period of 5 years.
Since then, Israel has received these aircraft in batches, announcing that it will receive two of them this year.
The F-35 can fly without being detected by anti-aircraft defense systems, according to the US Department of Defense.
So far, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that possesses this type of aircraft.
Israel has been in talks with the United States on how to maintain its military superiority after the Donald Trump administration approved a possible deal to sell F-35 fighters to the UAE last year.