WASHINGTON (JTA) — A stealth fighter jet that Israel wants to buy from the United States is going to cost more and take longer to complete than expected.
A report issued by Congress’s General Accountability Office states that the Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35, will cost 40 percent more than initially thought, according to the Jerusalem Post.
"Total development costs are projected to increase between $2.4 billion and $7.4 billion, and the schedule for completing system development extended from 1 to 3 years," the report states.
Delays in manufacturing test aircraft and cost overruns on the contracts to build the aircraft and engine account for the rise in costs.
The jet, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, may cost Israel closer to $130 million per plane, and the Israeli Air Force has received U.S. approval to buy as many as 75 fighters. The Post says it is not clear whether the cost overruns and delay in delivering the planes would affect Israel’s interest in the purchase.
The United States and Israel already have clashed over whether Israel should have access to the jet’s internal computer. Israel says it must be able to repair damaged computers immediately because it cannot wait for repairs to be sent from elsewhere during a war. The U.S. believes allowing the Jewish state to fix the computers on its own would give Israel access to classified technology.