Barak OKs purchase of U.S. fighter jets

Barak OKs purchase of U.S. fighter jets

JERUSALEM — Israel’s defense minister has approved a $2.75 billion deal to purchase the world’s most advanced warplane from the United States.

Ehud Barak on Sunday approved “in principle” the purchase of 20 U.S.-built F-35 warplanes, reportedly capable of evading radar. The fighters will be delivered between 2015 and 2017, Reuters reported.

A final approval by Israel’s Cabinet is expected at the end of September.

Eight international partners that helped develop the plane already have signed purchase agreements. The countries are Canada, Turkey, Britain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands.

Israel’s purchase would mark the first foreign military sale of the new military jet.

The deal between Israel and the United States has been in the works since September 2008, when the Pentagon approved the sale of 25 fighter jets with an option for 50 more.

Israel had been concerned initially that it would not be permitted access to some technologies of the aircraft.