And Israeli F-35s will be special in one other very important regard. While Lockheed and the U.S. government specifically designed the F-35 to be widely exportable, Washington has vowed not to sell the F-35 to Israel’s Middle East neighbors, essentially handing Tel Aviv a stealth-fighter monopoly … for a while, at least.
“Right now, we do not have any expectation for selling the F-35 in the near term, beyond the countries that have already bought into the program,” Bob Work, the U.S. deputy defense secretary, told Defense News in response to a query about potential F-35 sales to Arab countries.
And all of this while F-35 has not yet really shown that it is truly combat ready. The defense industry operates on the down low compared to many other industries, but the money it generates is astounding.
What's particularly interesting here is how it generates money. While some countries certainly ink their own deal with these large defense companies, it seems like US Government spend in the form of military aid accounts for a large portion of the dollar flow.
For example -
Israel has ordered 33 F-35Is at a cost of more than $5 billion — paid for by U.S. military aid — and should sign-on for an additional 17 of the planes as part of a new arms package that the country is currently negotiating with the U.S. government. Washington has approved Tel Aviv to acquire up to 75 F-35s.