The U.S. and Israel are near agreement on the sale of a sharply reduced number of conventional takeoff and landing F-35s, owing to the ballooning cost of the system. Israel now intends to buy 19 in the first batch, with options for two or three. Originally, 75 were planned, with an option for 25 more, according to Israeli and U.S. officials. At 19 aircraft, the average unit cost is $144 million. To sweeten the $2.75-billion sale, Washington is offering $4-billion worth of F-35 work. ...


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