Israel has approved the purchase of a third squadron of F-35 stealth fighter jets in a $3 billion deal, the Defense Ministry announced today.

The additional 25 aircraft, which are manufactured by Lockheed Martin, will increase the number of F-35s in the Israeli Air Force to 75, the ministry said, adding that the deal will be financed through the defense aid package Israel receives from the United States States.

Israel was the first country outside the United States to acquire F-35s. In May 2018, the chief of the Israeli Air Force announced that Israel had become the first country to use this plane in combat.

Lockheed Martin and engine maker Pratt & Whitney have agreed to include Israeli defense companies in the production of components for the aircraft, the Israeli Defense Ministry added.