The Israeli defence establishment is still determined to acquire 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, despite a recent decision by a ministerial committee to reduce the second order to 14 aircraft, defence sources have told IHS Jane’s .
The ministerial committee for military acquisitions approved the purchase of 14 F-35s instead of the 31 recommended by Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Together with the 19 that are already on order, the 31 aircraft would allow the Israeli Air Force to form two squadrons with 25 F-35s.
The setback to this plan is a temporary one, defence sources say, as Israel will seek to complete the original acquisition plan by ordering an additional 17 F-35s in 2017, bringing the total number of procured jets up to 50. […]