On Monday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter also visited Israel for a ceremony marking the United States’ delivery to Israel of two U.S.-built Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets—regarded as the most advanced military aircraft in the world. Israel now becomes the only country outside the United States to have operational F-35 fighter jets. This is Secretary Carter speaking Monday at the Nevatim air base in the southern Negev desert.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter: “These F-35 stealth fighters are the first of 50 aircraft that will help build the future of the Israeli Air Force. And that’s thanks to an historic memorandum of understanding we signed this year in which the U.S. pledged an unprecedented $38 billion in security assistance over the next decade. And as of today, Israel is our first and only friend in the region that’s flying F-35, and it’s my honor to be here marking the delivery of these planes, the Adir, to America’s closest friend and ally in the region.”
Each Lockheed Martin F-35 jet costs more than $100 million—a price tag Donald Trump recently criticized, tweeting, “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”