Israeli F-35 purchase decision imminent

21:51, July 21, 2010      

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Israel will decide in a matter of days whether to place an order for some 20 American-built F-35 fighter jets.

The fifth generation warplanes with their stealth capabilities would give Israel a distinct advantage over other Middle-Eastern militaries, but the Israelis were wavering at the last minute because of the high cost of the aircraft.

However, a series of technical disagreements between the United States and Israel that was threatening to scupper a contract is thought to have been ironed out.

There were reports that Israel's Defense Ministry was considering purchasing Super Hornets from Boeing, instead of the F-35, which has been jointly developed by eight countries but on which the U.S. Lockheed Martin is the lead partner.

Should Israel select the F-35s, the deal would be worth just under 3 billion U.S. dollars.

Aware of the cost factor, Lockheed told reporters at this week's Farnborough Airshow that it is committed to reducing the F-35's price tag.

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