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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Israel Aircraft to build 800 sets of wings for F-35

Israel Aircraft Industries is on the verge of signing a contract to construct 800 sets of wings for F-35 joint strike fighters. The entire program is expected to include 3,200 planes. Yes, this is a quid pro quo for Israel being the first country outside the syndicate to place an order.
Earlier this month Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved in principle the purchase of 20 of the radar-evading fighters, in a deal worth $2.75 billion.

Israeli and U.S. officials expect final approval of that deal by the end of September. The planes would be delivered in 2015-2017. The cost of the purchase would be covered by an annual U.S. defense grant of $3 billion.

Israel would be the first foreign country to sign an agreement to buy the F-35 outside the eight international partners that have helped to develop the plane.

Israeli and U.S. officials with knowledge of the deal said Israel has an option to buy a further 55 aircraft.

"Israel possibly will end up building a significant portion of the F-35," said one U.S. official familiar with the deal.

An Israeli official said reciprocal purchase deals worth $4 billion had been secured for Israeli companies for their participation in the plane's manufacture and might be increased to $5 billion although it would be conditional on Israel exercising its option to buy the additional 55 planes.
But more important, Israel has succeeded in getting some of its technology into the F-35.
“The aircraft will be designated F-35I, as there will be unique Israeli features installed in them,” a senior Israel air force official tells Aviation Week.

Israel’s initial batch will be almost identical to the international JSF offered to other countries, with one difference: The F-35s manufactured for Israel will include several cockpit interfaces to accommodate the air force’s command, control, communications, computer and intelligence systems. The F-35 main computer will enable a plug-and-play feature for Israeli equipment

The U.S. also is not standing in the way of an Israeli requirement to install a 600-gal. detachable fuel tank to increase the F-35’s range. Although the deployment would undermine the JSF’s stealth benefit, “in some missions, you can fly nonstealthy part of the way and become stealthy as you enter the danger zone,” explains the air force official, hinting at a potential confrontation with Iran.

However, the fielding timeline for the JSF means it does not feature in any possible near-term Israeli plans to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Moreover, several senior officers of the Israel Defense Forces and defense ministry officials still think the F-35’s limited payload capability and range should have driven Israel to consider other alternatives, such as more F-15s.


At 9:57 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Or build a lot of Israeli-made Lavi jets.

Why can't Smart Jews build them?

What could go wrong indeed

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lavi was a F16 with a different wing configuration. It's 35 year old design, and Israel never made the engines anyway. :(

The upside the F35 wing deal is the chance to use newer tech to upgrade the fleet of F16 and F15. The new fighters are getting very expensive compared to their capability.
The F35 is cheaper than the F22, but shorter ranged and carries half the load - 4 missiles instead of 8.


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