Israel is nearing a $3 billion deal for 19 advanced F-35 warplanes that would give it a significant military advantage, Pentagon Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, told Reuters.
"The ball is in their court. I am waiting for them to make a decision any day," he added. Lockheed Martin, the plane’s manufacturer, has not commented on the status of the deal, but Lockheed is known to be anxious over sales because of European countries’ reviews of spending programs.
Wieringa added that the Obama administration and the Pentagon view Israel’s buying the F-35 as “part and parcel" of American security policies.
Lockheed Martin has promoted the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter as the centerpiece for 21st century global security while strengthening international political and industrial partnerships. The fighter plane combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
One of the sticking points in the purchase by Israel has been its desire to incorporate Israeli systems in the plane.
Weiringa did not disclose what specific radars and other equipment would be included with the F-35 fighters for Israel, but sources reported that Israel is satisfied with the technology in the final agreement.