Israeli minister approves $4B U.S. fighter jet deal
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, center, arrives to testify in front of a state-appointed inquiry commission into the Israeli naval raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, Pool)
Published Sunday, August 15, 2010 9:06AM EDT
JERUSALEM - Israel's defence minister has given the go-ahead to a $4 billion purchase of advanced American F-35I fighter jets.
Ehud Barak's office says Barak approved the purchase of the stealth fighters along with spare parts and services. Military officials said Israel would purchase around 20 of the Lockheed Martin jets. The F-35I is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the deal were not made public.
Israel's government is expected to approve the deal soon. The purchase will be funded by U.S. military aid to Israel.
The F-35I can avoid enemy radar systems. Analysts suggest that could help Israel strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
In a statement Sunday, Barak said the plane will allow Israel to maintain its "aerial supremacy."