[CBC뉴스] 이스라엘 국방장관은 4일(현지시간) 미국의 스텔스 F-35 전투기 3중대를 구입하기를 원하며, 1월 20일 도널드 트럼프 대통령이 퇴임하기 전에 협상이 타결되기를 바란다고 말했다.
이스라엘은 트럼프 행정부가 지난해 F-35의 아랍에미리트(UAE) 판매 가능성을 승인한 이후 군사적 이점을 유지하는 방안에 대해 미국과 협의해 왔다. 그 비행기는 이전에 그 지역의 이스라엘에서만 이용할 수 있었다.
Israel's defence minister said on Monday (January 4) that he wants the country to buy a third squadron of stealth F-35 warplanes from the United States, and that he hoped a deal could be clinched before President Donald Trump steps down on Jan. 20.
Israel has been in talks with Washington on how to preserve its military advantage after the Trump administration approved a possible F-35 sale to the United Arab Emirates last year. The plane was previously available only to Israel in the region.
"Without doubt, we need to expand the F-35 array. Right now we have two squadrons. I reckon we will expand that. That is what I requested of the Americans," Defence Minister Benny Gantz told Ynet TV.
"I would buy another F-35 squadron and then examine what to do with the balance - continuing to expand the F-35 (procurement), going for F-15s?"
Gantz did not specify the number of F-35s in the proposed new squadron. Defence officials have said the two squadrons already ordered by Israel consist of 50 planes.
Gantz's coalition government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell apart last month, triggering a March 23 ballot. Both men remain in their posts until a new government is formed after the ballot.
Asked if Israel might complete a defence procurement deal with the United States before Trump steps down, he said: "I hope so. I think the defence budget needs to be handled properly, to be safeguarded. It is a kind of active insurance policy."
The F-35 is made by Lockheed Martin Corp and the F-15 by Boeing Co.
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