Israel has issued a letter of request to the US to purchase 25 F-35s to create the country’s first joint strike fighter squadron.

The country also plans to buy 50 more fighters with vertical take-off and landing capabilities at a later date.

The Israeli Air Force will replace its fleet of F-15I and F-16Is with the new fighters.

Israel will continue negotiations on the unit price of the aircraft and hopes to sign a deal in early 2010.

In the past the US and Israel have disagreed over issues such as the integration of Israeli-made electronic warfare systems into the plane.

Israel, although a security cooperation participant, is not a full-fledged member of the nine-nation joint strike fighter squadron programme.