Israel is considering buying additional F-15s or F-16s to fill the gap caused by delays in the development of F-35 stealth fighter for the Israeli Air Force (IAF).

The IAF plans to acquire a squadron of 18-24 aircraft, if the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter development is delayed further, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly.

The air force may also consider postponing the F-35 acquisition if it is further delayed, and retain aircraft such as F-16A.

Israel has plans to replace the F-16A fighters with an initial batch of 25 F-35s, which are scheduled to be delivered in 2012, with an option for more.

In March 2010, the Pentagon announced that the F-35 programme had been delayed by a year-and-a-half and would not become operational until 2015, instead of 2013.