Fearing that the United States will sell the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern states, the Defense Ministry is seeking American approval to install Israeli-made electronic systems on the stealth fighter jets it buys.
One reason Israel is asking for the changes is so if the aircraft is sold to other states in the region, the IAF's version will be unique and superior.
Israel has been looking for further US support on a variety of defense measures - including developing advanced missile defense capabilities, acquiring smart bomb technology and expediting the F-35s sale - with the Iranian nuclear threat looming.
On Tuesday, the US Defense Department notified Congress of plans to sell up to 75 JSF fifth-generation fighter jets to Israel in a $15.2 billion deal for the aircraft, which is expected to be the mainstay of air power in the US and several other nations for decades.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said it notified Congress on Friday that Israel has asked to buy 25 of the F-35s, with an option to buy an additional 50 at a later date.
The sale would be the first to a country outside of the US and the other eight partner nations that are collaborating on the F-35, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
Israel said it plans to buy a fleet of F-35s as it upgrades its military technology. The first batch of 25 would be the variant of F-35 designed for conventional take off from military airfields, but the later 50 could include a version that can land and take off vertically, similar to a helicopter.
If approved by Congress in the next 30 days, Israel will likely sign an official contract with the US Air Force in the coming months and begin receiving the aircraft in 2014.