The vice president of Lockheed Martin, Steve O’Bryan, announced Tuesday at the Paris Air Show that Israel will be the first country to receive the F-35 American-made stealth fighter jet, Israel Hayom reports.
Not expected to be delivered until the end of 2016, they are also to be fitted with an Israeli “twist”—detachable fuselages.
O’Bryan said Lockheed Martin was examining the feasibility of adding the detachable fuselages to the plane, manufactured by the Israeli company Cyclone. The fuselages would allow the plane to have a longer flight range.
Israel made the order for the 20 jets in October 2010 at a cost of $2.75 billion. Globes recently reported that new bomb-proof underground pens are being built to accommodate the F-35s.
In all, the Israeli Air Force wants 75 F-35s, Israel Hayom reports, to replace Lockheed Martin’s F-16I Sufas and Boeing’s F-15 Ra’ams.