[Freemanlist2] Israel Angles to Extend US Offer for V-22s - Barbara Opall-Rome

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Mon Jan 5 09:26:26 CST 2015

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[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:  take note about the F-35's - those jets whose justification for existing is a stealth quality that has already been 
overcome by CURRENT TECHNOLOGY: Deliveries of the first 19 aircraft from 
Israel's first contract are scheduled to begin in late 2016 and continue 
through the end of 2019. By then, government and industry sources here say, 
Israel hopes to conclude follow-on deals for 50 of the 75 aircraft 
authorized for sale by the US Congress.]
Israel Angles to Extend US Offer for V-22s
By Barbara Opall-Rome 11:30 a.m. EST January 4, 2015

TEL AVIV — Israel has asked Washington to preserve cut-rate costs and 
generous terms of a proposed package of up to six V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft 
pending an ongoing reassessment of procurement priorities driven by last 
summer's Gaza war.

Proposed prices, delivery schedules and deferred payment allowances 
guaranteed in a Pentagon-crafted letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) 
expired Dec. 10.

Israel didn't sign the LOA, but now wants to freeze its terms, which reduced 
the estimated $1.3 billion package by nearly half, expedited deliveries and 
allowed deferred payment through low-interest commercial loans essentially 
secured by the promise of future-year military aid.

In interviews here, officials said they appreciated the extraordinarily 
generous US offer and the personal support of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel 
and senior US Navy and Marine Corps leaders.

Many also acknowledged what one termed the "chutzpah" of reneging on a deal 
that former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya'alon — Hagel's 
current counterpart — insisted was essential for safeguarding Israel's 
qualitative military edge (QME).

"Two successive Israeli defense ministers lobbied hard to label this a 
critical part of QME," a general in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reserves 
said of legislation obligating the Pentagon to provide "necessary means" for 
preserving Israel's advantage over any likely combination of regional 

"They took our long-arm needs much more seriously than we did," the officer 
said of the Bell Boeing tilt-rotors that Israel aimed to use for special 
operations and extended-range missions.

"The chutzpah of this episode harms our credibility in Washington."

As of Jan. 2, the Pentagon had not responded to the Defense Ministry's 
written request to keep terms of the LOA on ice pending the post-war 
reassessment of investment priorities.

Long Arm Vs. Ground Maneuvering

The proposed V-22 package is not the only program to be shelved, stretched 
or staggered due to the ongoing reassessment, which defense and industry 
sources note is is being conducted under conditions of budgetary limbo at 
home and rapidly escalating regional threats.

In late November, Israel decided to reduce the number of F-35s to be 
included in a US government-administered follow-on contract with Lockheed 
Martin from 33 to 14 aircraft.

Government and industry sources have characterized the downscaled order as a 
half-step that buys Israel more time to budget for future follow-on 
purchases and prepares to absorb the first tranche of 19 aircraft ordered 
under a 2010 contract.

Deliveries of the first 19 aircraft from Israel's first contract are 
scheduled to begin in late 2016 and continue through the end of 2019. By 
then, government and industry sources here say, Israel hopes to conclude 
follow-on deals for 50 of the 75 aircraft authorized for sale by the US 

"They didn't scale back the program; they just staggered the orders to avoid 
the expense of having all those aircraft under the same, immediate follow-on 
contract," said a senior executive of a major Israeli aerospace firm 
partnered with Lockheed Martin on F-35-related subassembly.

In parallel, Israel's Defense Ministry is also working with General Dynamics 
Land Systems (GDLS), its Sterling Heights, Michigan-based partner on the 
Namer heavy troop carrier, to stretch orders without renegotiating terms — 
and risking penalty fees — on a 2011 contract.

Sources here say Israel still plans an inventory of more than 500 Namer 
heavy carriers. Several hundred of those vehicles will come from 
GDLS-produced assembly kits that Israel wants to acquire at a slower pace 
than the 60 per year rate specified in its 2011 contract.

With no government-approved budget for 2015, the Israeli Defense Ministry is 
operating essentially month-by-month according to 2014-approved funding 
levels of some 51 billion shekels (US $13 billion), which includes US aid.

Compounding obstacles to long-term planning, sources here say, is a near 
continuous need to revise threat assessments due to a region convulsing from 
insurgencies, blurred borders and the steady rise of radical Islam.

"We're struggling with a cardinal dilemma: Do we fortify our long-arm [with 
more F-35s and V-22s] or invest in more heavy troop carriers and active 
defenses needed for the next round in Gaza or Lebanon," a government 
official here said.

"We need both and we need them now," he added.

Defense officials said the issue is unlikely to be resolved until the new 
government to be established after elections here March 17 approves a budget 
for 2015 and spending guidelines for future years.

Email: bopallrome at defensenews.com. 
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

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