The Department of Defense is gearing up to help the State of Israel buy its first F-35 stealth fighter jets.

Photo: Wikimedia

On Thursday, the DoD announced that it is awarding Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), the plane's manufacturer, a $20.1 million fixed-price-incentive, firm-target, advance acquisition contract to begin purchasing "long-lead" parts, materials, and components necessary to build two low-rate, initial production Lot II F-35 fighters for the Israeli military. Lockheed's contract runs through May 2014.

From engines by United Technologies, to avionics from Northrop Grumman, to the "black box" crash recorder from L-3 Communications, Lockheed buys parts from 1,400 domestic suppliers in 46 states and Puerto Rico to build the F-35.

This being an intermediated sale to Israel via the Pentagon, the contract is classified as a Foreign Military Sales contract.