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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Israel to forfeit its F-35 technological advantage

Three weeks ago, I reported that Israel and the United States had resolved their differences over the F-35 joint strike fighter, and that Israel would eventually purchase the jet. The differences related to three areas: the integration of Israeli electronic warfare systems into the plane, the integration of Israeli communication systems, and the ability to independently maintain the plane in the event of a technical or structural problem.

On Monday, I reported that Israel had placed its first order for 25 of the jets, with a contract to be signed in early 2010 and with the first delivery to be made in 2014.

Makor Rishon, a Hebrew newspaper with a web site that only allows you to flip through the paper and not to link individual articles (at least as far as I could tell), is reporting that while Israel will have the ability to independently maintain the plane in the event of a technical or structural problem, it will not be able to integrate its own electronic warfare or communications system into the plane.
Makor Rishon correspondent Danny Shalom reports in today's edition that after over a year of negotiations Israel decided to accept that the F-35's supplied to Israel not be equipped with Israeli technology that would give the aircraft an edge over the same jets should they be supplied to the Arabs.

The equipment included Israeli electronic warfare equipment and weapons.

The American did, however, agree to provide Israel limited access to the jet's system software.

Shalom explains that while the F-15 and F-16 has a number of computers on board so that changing or adding a system does not involve a central computer, the F-35 operates with a central computer handling all systems, thus any change has to be reflected in the software of the central computer - with all the system tests etc. that go with it.

Israel wanted to include a system that allows for data communications between planes and with ground control but the manufacturer said that the system would only be added if all the costs of integrating it into the jet were borne by Israel.

The manufacturer wanted to charge Israel $125 million a jet instead of $80 million for adding the Israeli technology.

Israel also wanted to add Israeli Python 5 Air to Air Missiles that are superior to the American Sidewinders but the Americans refused to permit the introduction of the competing equipment.


At 7:11 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Retrofitting the needed equipment after delivery may be difficult but can be done.

At 7:51 PM, Blogger LB said...

But I don't think they're allowed to do so after delivery, or risk future contracts. On the other hand, that's a great idea - finally cut off this dependency on the US.

At this point, I am glad with what Obama is doing - I can only hope for more - nothing else seems to be furthering Israeli independence.

In related news (to Obama and America's move towards Chamberlainism), North American Aliyah is up, way up. Sounds good to me.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

What's really stupid is Israel doesn't even the Lavi today and is dependent on a foreign country for a plane that doesn't give Israel a qualitative advantage over its enemies.

At 9:27 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

India flies MIG and Suchoy with Israeli technology, where┬┤s the problem ?

At 10:07 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Buy Russian MIGs and Sukhois and outfit them with Israeli technology. The Russians need the cash. Israel should cancel the F-35 buy.


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