Israel Buys More 14 More F-35s as US Denies JSF Sales to Gulf States

The Pentagon's top weapons buyer said the U.S. has no "near term" plans to sell F-35s to nations such as Qatar or the UAE.

The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer announced Sunday that the U.S. would not yet sell F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Arabian Gulf region nations on the same day Israel confirmed it would buy 14 additional F-35s.

In a deal worth about $3 billion, Israel said it would buy 14 additional fifth generation fighters built by Lockheed Martin Corp., which would bring the Israeli fleet to 33. The Israeli Defense Ministry bought 19 F-35s in 2010.

The U.S. is leading the development of the F-35, but allies across the globe to include the U.K., Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway and Turkey have also financed the world’s most expensive weapons program. U.S. generals have emphasized the international support of the program throughout its history.

Frank Kendall, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics, told a crowd of reporters Sunday at the IDEX defense conference in Abu Dhabi that he didn’t expect any “near-term” F-35 sales to Gulf states such as Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, according to reports.

He explained that the current fleet of fourth generation fighters such as the Block 60 F-16s flown by the UAE could meet the threats of the region, according to reports. UAE flies 80 Block 60 F-16s, which is the most advanced F-16 variant in the world. In fact, the most advanced F-16 flown by the U.S. is the Block 50/52+.

Israel will receive its first two F-35s next year with the last one set to arrive by 2021.

The Israeli purchase follows the announcement by Egypt on its plans to buy 24 Rafale multirole combat fighters from Dassault Aviation. Developed in the 1970s and 80s, the French built the fighter to be comparable to the American F-16.

Kendall’s comments come as Gulf region jets are flying missions with the U.S. and other coalition aircraft against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. The coalition includes Egypt and the UAE.

— Michael Hoffman can be reached at Mike.Hoffman@military.com

  • oblatt22

    So a win for the Gulf States then.

    Israel didn't want the F-35 but with Lockheed's man running the pentagon there is little they can do to get out of the Lockheed tax. Its a lost opportunity, they would much rather have spent that US taxpayer money one something useful.

    You imagine the panic if Russia decided to sell the PAK-FA to the Iranians. Like Obama said – as we try to ruin the Russian economy with sanctions we still hope they help us in all the other parts of the globe where we are hurting.

    • Dfens

      Lockheed sells F-16s too. Even if you do believe that Israel had no choice but to deal with Lockheed, even within Lockheed they have choices.

    • guest

      Its not the Pak-FA they were worried about its was the S400 SAM system. I think they got that stopped but that was before Ukraine or Libya or Syria.

    • guest

      The F-35 is exactly what they want.

      They already have F-15s to handle the air-to-air mission. They need something that can slip past Russian SAMs in Iran, strike a ground target, and make it back home. Basically, an updated F-117. That’s the only role the F-35 is good at. And they’re getting them relatively cheap, certainly cheaper than the US.

    • guest

      "They would have much rather spend the US tax money on something useful",, yeah like buying the US Congress.

  • john s. boone

    And we wonder why ISIS attacks the West? This sale does nothing but destabilize the region . Why does America support Apartheid Israel at the expense of all the people in the world?

    • Ming the Merciless

      if you mean apartheid equals defending yourself from rocket attacks, suicide bombers, terrorist gunmen…

    • Ziv

      John s, I also support clitorectomies, the murder of Christians and girls that wish to learn to read, the covering of women from head to foot in swaddling clothe and killing them if there is anyone who wishes to question their virginity! Lets shut down universities that teach modern science and refuse to let our women drive cars!
      Yeah, you and me brother! ISIS rocks!
      Israel, on the other hand, is looking at 19% of their voters being muslims. Iraq had that problem, then they killed enough Christians and Jews so that almost all the Iraqis are now muslims. But now they are killing each other because some are Shia, some are Sunni and some wish to be classified as Kurdish.

      • Big Daddy

        Mr. Boone, you dear sir need to read some history books and get your facts straight. I will pray for you that you may find peace.

      • john s. boone

        Perhaps you would give me a source of this history books? A few titles would be appreciated . The names of a couple of authors worthwhile reading . Giving me a list of suggested reading would be worthwhile not some mindless comment .

    • guest

      The main reason is that they've bought our Congress a couple of times over. A few of the more outspoken Israeli leaders have come right out and said they own us. How could it be more clear?

  • Ming the Merciless

    Israel should go with the Advanced Capability Superhornet – the F-35 is a hole in which nations throw money

    • Dfens

      Yeah, the sucker hornet is god's gift to Islam.

    • Another Guest

      Ming the Merciless,

      Israel should go instead with more F-15s – indeed the F-35 is a hole in which nations throw money into the toilet.

    • Toby

      why do we easily think we know better than our leader who have direct knowledge of what is happening, from the little information that we are able to glen from the public domain

  • orly?

    Thanks Obama? I guess?

  • Lance

    Feel sorry for any nation to buy a lemon like the JSF. We should sell them the F-22, but I know congress and there law gets in the way of that.

    • guest

      Its out of production now, the decision was made in 2004 when the F35 was expected to be Lockheeds only jet fighter by this stage

  • Charles

    We should look at the bright side of the UAE, etc., wanting to purchase the F-35: at least they're offering CASH.

    When it comes to Israel's "purchase", the F-35's they are "buying" are in reality gifts from the citizens of the United States.

    • Curt

      Not really. Isreal and Egypt get paid off for not fighting each other. That was Carter's Camp David Accord which, since it was ratified by the Senate, is the supreme law of the land. It is not aid or a gift or anything like that. Basically, it is protection money (or appeasement if you prefer) and by all accounts it has worked out pretty well so far. Four wars before 1973, none after.

  • ken

    Israel isn't buying the F-35. The American taxpayer is buying the F-35 for Israel. Just like we have for every jet they've ordered for decades.

    • guest

      I wonder how sequestration has hit the Israeli military aid budget ? Military aid is in the Pentagons budget ??

      • Curt

        None, it's not aid in the traditional sense as in money appropriated each year. It is a Senate ratified international treaty debt (if you don't like it, thank Jimmy) and hence non-appropriated.

    • Timothy Benton

      Really, that is why Israel went and worked out a loan to pay for these fighters. Guess they were taking out a loan for the fun of it, right?
      Typical of you idiots, you comment with zero facts. Most of the "Aid" Israel gets actually comes in low interest or no interest loans, loans that Israel has been faithful to pay back for years.
      Also with this Israel has to agree to purchase American produced product, thus helping our unemployment figures, and then any upgrades have to be passed to the US at no cost, unless we have Israel manufacture them. The F16 is a great example, there are over 270 upgrades in the fighter today that were discovered by Israel and later implemented in US fighters.
      The intel Israel passed back to the US about dealing with both by evasion and destroying Russian anti-air systems saved many American lives when the @#$%$ hit the fan with the Iraq war.
      Of course I have a strange feeling that those silly things like FACTS do not matter to you, do they?

      • Toby

        Exactly what I was implying. Finally somebody with facts.

  • moebius22

    I wonder how much Israel will actually pay for those fighters?

  • bbabbitt

    Isn't the AF still "testing" the F-35s? When does Isreal expect to get these dogs?

    • crackedlenses

      Probably the chance to "fix" them and adapt them for their own purposes; in short, what Israel has done with just about every weapon its gotten its hands on since 1948.

  • snakebite

    I Israel paying for these aircraft with the more than $5,000,000,000 it gets from the American taxpayers every year?

    • greg

      Not too mention the 15+billion they get every year from the German taxpayers.