Israel Likes the F-35 So Much, It’s Buying 17 More

By 2024, Israel will deploy a fleet of 50 advanced F-35 Joint Strike Fighters purchased from America

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US President Donald Trump was initially no fan of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which ended up being America's most expensive weapons project ever.

But Israel's been pretty happy with the new plane since taking possession of its first five such aircraft back in December 2016. In fact, Jerusalem is so pleased with what's called the "Adir" in Israel, that it's ordered an additional 17 F-35s to go with the original order of 33 planes, for a total fleet of 50 aircraft.

The planes will arrive in Israel as they are built, a process that will take several years. By 2021, Israel is expected to take possession of all 33 planes from the original order, and by 2024 the full 50-aircraft fleet will be deployed.

Here's video footage of Israel Air Force pilots testing the first F-35s to arrive late last year:

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the F-35 a significant and strategically important improvement to Israel's military capabilities.

PHOTO: Defense Minister Lieberman in an F-35 aircraft (photo by Ariel Hermoni / Israel Defense Ministry)

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