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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Israel re-thinking stealth bomber purchase

In October, I reported that the Pentagon had approved the sale to Israel of 25 F-35 stealth-enabled joint strike fighters. The price tag of the jets was to be $70-80 million each, with an option to purchase up to an additional 50 jets. On Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel was re-thinking the deal because the jets' cost is expected to top out at more than $100 million each.
The IDF source, who is familiar with the project and the necessary budget, said the IDF believed the cost would pass the $100m. mark, making it very difficult for Israel to follow through with its initial intention to purchase 75 aircraft.

He said that if not for operational considerations, the IDF would have preferred to wait several years and then order the aircraft once the price goes down.


A defense industry source familiar with the negotiations between Israel and the US said the talks were "tough," but predicted that a deal would be reached in the coming months and that Israel would finally place an official order.
For those who would like to see videos of the F-35 in action, I have two of them here. They're really cool.

But the government did something much more important than buying stealth bombers today. It budgeted NIS 650 million (about $160 million) to build a new Prime Minister's residence in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
The new complex, which will also contain the prime minister's office, is projected to save NIS 16 million a year, the cost of constantly shuttling the prime minister and his entourage from residence to office and back.

Combining the residence and the offices is also projected to ease city traffic somewhat, since road closings to allow the passage of the prime minister's convoy or visiting dignitaries would become far less frequent.

Education Minister Yuli Tamir, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On, Environment Protection Minister Gideon Ezra and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ya'acov Edri objected to the proposal.

Bar-On was quoted as saying that the economic crisis was reason enough to postpone the project, while Tamir said that NIS 650 million was enough to renovate all of Israel's schools.

Foreign Minister and prime ministerial candidate Tzipi Livni abstained due to the inherent conflict of interests.
I guess that means that Ehud Barak either doesn't expect to win or doesn't see a conflict of interest - neither of which says much for him.

And the reason the government believes this is so important in the middle of a recession?
Another reason for the project is the government's desire not to lag behind other Western countries, where official residences are modern and ostentatious.
Of course. That's much more important than another stealth bomber or two isn't it?

I have a better idea: Let the government buy from resigning Prime Minister Ehud Korruption Olmert the home he purchased on Kremieux Street in Jerusalem - deducting the amount by which he cheated on taxes on the purchase - and use that for the Prime Minister's residence. Olmert will probably be moving to France soon anyway.


At 6:58 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

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At 7:11 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

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At 7:12 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

In its dying days, from the reported agreement to release the mass murderer of Jews, Marwan Barghouti to building a palatial new Prime Minister's Office mansion, the Kadima-Labor government demonstrated that its back to business as usual. That's a relief.

"The fish rots from the head down," as the old saying has it. Nowhere is that proverb more aptly expressed than in Israel.


At 12:40 AM, Blogger Geoffrey Carman said...

The irony is that the Israeli order for F-35's is actually a god send to the program.

In order to keep costs down, they need to ramp up production to its full speed as soon as possible.

Due to budgetary issues, the US continues to delay and delay full rate production. For every delay the overall program and thus per fighter cost goes up and up.

It is a vicious cycle, and it happens all the time (B-2, F-22, V-22 Osprey).

The Israeli order is enough to privide for the ramp up (at least a good chunk of it) earlier than the US can afford itself, and thus keep costs lower for everybody! If the price continues to climb, everyone orders fewer, and guess what the price goes up again as the development costs are amortized over the entire production run.

Ironic that an Israeli order will help save a US fighter program.

At 6:30 AM, Blogger Daniel434 said...

One of my friend's in Israel just loves Jets. He wanted to be a Pilot but has been relegated to be a "Jobnik". I feel bad for him, he has Asthma so no chance for him to be a Pilot. Anyway, I'm sure he will be disappointed if Israel doesn't get a new toy.

Here's my suggestion: Give Israel a $500Billion Bailout and let them buy all the Stealth Bombers they want! :)

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Do you think Nancy Pelosi will bail us out too?

At 5:08 AM, Blogger Daniel434 said...


One can only hope. Heh.


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