Mrt 09 2011

Haaretz: Israel may wait for later version of F-35

Gepubliceerd door om 19:15 onder Global F35 News

Jerusalem - The Israel Air Force is reconsidering the early delivery of the F-35 fighter jets, based on information that first-batch production units (Block 2, Block 3) will lack the advanced features it requires, local daily Ha’aretz reported Wednesday.

Under the terms of a US$ 2.75 billion deal signed October 2010 with Lockheed Martin, delivery of the 20 units ordered (average price US$ 137 million) by Israel will begin in late 2015 and is expected to take two years.

But the first jets that will roll off the assembly lines will most likely lack the advanced avionics, communications and radar capabilities that the IAF needs in order to maintain its technological superiority in the region, Israeli Air Force sources told Haaretz:
“Teams from the IAF and the Defense Ministry have left for the United States in the past two weeks to take part in discussions between Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force. The sides will plan production and the various delivery dates.
The Israel Air Force now believes that timing must be considered against capabilities. The IAF wants to acquire the jets as soon as possible to increase its technological lead over other countries in the region. This would bolster the air force’s deterrent capabilities.”

Block 3 jets that will have these capabilities will not be available before late 2016, a fact that presents the Israeli Air Force brass with a dilemma of timing versus capabilities. The same is valid for several JSF partner countries like Australia, Norway and The Netherlands.

According to Lockheed Martin they “…remain convinced they will provide Israel with fully battle-ready F-35 jets on the schedule discussed by the U.S. and Israel governments.”

Source: Haaretz; 9-mar-2011; Anshell Pfeffer; In bid for air superiority, Israel may wait for better jets

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