Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon last week visited the Lockheed Martin assembly factory in Texas and called the new F-35 fighter jet "a cornerstone in building" the Israeli Air Force of the future.
Israel is one of the first countries on the list to receive the F-35 when America begins shipping to its foreign allies.
Like the F-16 before it, Yaalon said he had no doubt the F-35 would be a great asset and "give the Israel Air Force great operational abilities."
In a related development, the Pentagon has made the decision that F-35 pilots will use a helmet developed jointly by Rockwell Collins Inc. and Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd.
The decision knocked out of competition a helmet being developed by a British defense contractor. The Pentagon chose to go with the Rockwell-Elbit helmet following significant improvements and a lower price tag.