Israel handed over an official application to the Pentagon to acquire the first squadron of multi-purpose fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets, The Jerusalem Post newspaper wrote. The F-35 fighter, designed by Lockheed Martin with the use of the Stealth technology, is to be put into service in 2014.
Israeli officials said before that the nation would not be concerned abut Russia’s deals to sell S-300 missile complexes to Iran if Israeli Air Force had F-35 fighters. A computer modeling showed that the battling capacity of the Russian missile systems was weaker than that of the US fighters.
Israel rushed to submit its application despite the absence of final agreements with the USA regarding a number of key issues, which include the price and an opportunity to install Israeli systems at the fighter jets.
The USA and Israel are about to reach the agreement on the matter, although the price, which the Pentagon originally proposed - $200 million – is twice or even three times as much as the price, which Israeli military officials expected. They believe that each fighter jet must cost $70-80 million.
Such a difference in the prices appeared after Israeli Air Force demanded many state-of-the-art systems and devices be installed on the export version of the plane. Israel set forth three basic requirements: to install Israeli-made communication systems, radio-electronic warfare systems on the planes and provide an opportunity of technical servicing.
The USA originally intended not to make any modifications of the basic version of the plane and wished to keep the technical servicing of the fighter jets. Now it seems that the sides have achieved a mutual agreement regarding all these issues.
The contract between the United States and Israel is to be signed already this year. Israel will at first purchase 25 jets and then proceed with acquiring 50 fighters.
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign