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Israel Reported Seeking 40 Jet Fighters of Latest Model in France

Morning newspapers here reported today from Paris that Israel has reached a secret agreement with France which will enable Israel to create the most potent air force in the Middle East.

According to the report, the agreement will now receive final approval from Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and President Charles de Gaulle in Paris. It provides for the sale to Israel of about 40 Mirage-3 jet fighters which can travel at twice the speed of sound.

The order, which is expected to involve a price of about $40,000,000, specifies the start of deliveries to Israel toward the end of 1961, according to the press reports. The agreement, it was asserted, was reached two months ago but kept undisclosed at the request of the Israel Government.

The Mirage-3, now in quantity production, is a single-seater interceptor attack plane for the French Air Force. It has a rocket engine to supplement its turbo-jet motor for takeoff and combat. It carries cannon and rockets and can also mount air-to-ground guided missiles.