[Freemanlist2] Israel To Buy F-35s With Cockpit Mods By Alon Ben-David

Freeman Center For Strategic Studies bernards at sbcglobal.net
Tue Aug 31 08:13:01 CDT 2010

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and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest." Isaiah 62.

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[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

Simply put, Israel will end up with the same platform that its neighbors 
will ultimately have.  The U.S. will not allow it to add Israeli made 
electronic gizmos that would give it a performance edge.]

Israel To Buy F-35s With Cockpit Mods
Aviation Week Aug 27, 2010
By Alon Ben-David Tel Aviv

Israel is pressing ahead with its purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, 
after securing U.S. approval to install Israeli munitions on the aircraft 
and a pledge to adjust the electronic warfare suite to emerging Middle East 

"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 

The air force has won that argument, although Israeli Prime Minister 
Benjamin Netanyahu still has to endorse the decision of the defense 
minister, Ehud Barak, to proceed with the purchase. Negotiations with 
Lockheed Martin on the specific costs are ongoing, but the air force plans 
to begin receiving its fighters in 2015.

According to the agreement now being formalized, Israel will pay $2.75 
billion for the procurement, including support and training costs. Israel 
hopes to buy 20 fighters for that money, although that will require further 
cost-cutting by Lockheed Martin, as that amount would currently only pay for 
19 of the aircraft.

The air force plans to receive the first JSF for test flights in the U.S. in 
2015. Three aircraft would be delivered in 2015, and another three in 2016. 
The rest would follow in 2017.

Years of negotiations on Israeli requirements to install indigenous 
technologies on the F-35 as well as to include Israeli industries in the 
project were concluded during a meeting between Netanyahu and U.S. Defense 
Secretary Robert Gates on July 7.

Israel was forced to realize that the highly integrated electronics 
structure of the F-35 will not enable installment of its own electronic 
warfare systems on top of the aircraft's EW suite, and that the U.S. will 
not grant Israel the source code to alter threat and jamming libraries. 
Instead, the two countries agreed on a mechanism by which the U.S. will make 
the required software changes to meet any new threat that might emerge in 
the region.

For nonstealth missions requiring an active EW system, Israel will be able 
to fit an external jamming pod on its JSFs.

Owing to a concerted Rafael push, Israel also insisted that it be able to 
install its future air-to-air missile in the aircraft's internal weapon 
bays. While the successor of Rafael's Python 5 is not even on the drawing 
board, Israel believes the current U.S.-made air-to-air missiles offered 
with the F-35 will not be sufficient.

However, Israel is planning to develop an air-to-air derivative of the 
Stunner dual-mode (radar, infrared) missile, which is being developed by 
Rafael and Raytheon as part of the David's Sling counter-missile and rocket 
system. One threat it aims to neutralize is from "U.S.-made fighters 
equipped with advanced radars," says the Israeli air force source, hinting 
at the pending sale to Saudi Arabia of F-15s equipped with an active, 
electronically scanned array radar.

An additional requirement is the capacity to install Rafael's Spice 
air-to-ground guided bomb in the F-35's internal bay. In order to fit the 
Spice internally, Rafael will be required to make structural changes in the 
weapon, which will demand defense ministry development funding.

Now the air force must develop a proper operational doctrine for the 
fighter. Several officers admit that while trying the F-35's simulator, they 
flew at low altitude, disregarding the aircraft's stealth capability. "It is 
always like that with new aircraft," says the air force source. "We will not 
be able to fully appreciate the JSF's capabilities until we receive it."

The focus also shifts to hammering out details of the purchase plan and, 
with Lockheed Martin, the procurement cost and payment schedule. Israel will 
seek a loan to finance the contract and keep payments low in the first year, 
with the bulk of the money flowing in 2014-15.

Lockheed Martin's willingness to allow Israeli industrial participation in 
the project, with work worth $4 billion, sweetened the deal for Israel. The 
main beneficiaries will be Israel Aerospace Industries, which will build 
wing parts for the F-35, and Elbit Systems, which provides the 
helmet-mounted display. Israeli government officials still hope to drive the 
workshare through the program's life to $5 billion.

The letter of agreement, which will be issued soon, will call for the 
acquisition of 75 JSFs. However, following the first batch of 19-20 
aircraft, Israel will not be able to fund procurement of more than another 
20-25.?? The air force fighter fleet will thus decrease, as Israel will be 
forced to decommission its aging F-16A/B fighters before the end of the 
decade. With 60 F-16 "Netzs" currently in service and only 40-45 new F-35 
fighters to be acquired, the order of battle will shrink by nearly 20 
fighter aircraft. 
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[Freeman Center Note: Considering the Jewish historical experience with weakness, ALL Jews (and, of course, Israelis) should be armed and able to defend themselves. Any attempt by the government to disarm Jews should be resisted by force. Better to die a free man than to live as a slave. Any attempt by the U.S, Europe or the UN to limit Israeli military freedom of action should be prevented!] 
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