CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Despite Israel's repeated requests to install its own defense systems in the US-manufactured F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), U.S. military officials insist it's not going to happen.
"They [Israel] are going to buy aircraft that have basically the same capability as all the others," Major General Charles Davis, executive officer of the JSF program, told Aviation Week.
"They are trying to do requirements analyses for future missions. That is doable through software. It is not doable by Israelis sticking boxes in the airplane," Davis said. "[Israeli Defense Industries Elbit and Elta being involved] is not an option," the general said.
Israeli defense officials have asked to install their own command and control systems, radar, munitions and electronic warfare, as they did with F-151s and F-161s, based on the IAF's (Israel Air Force) unique operational requirements.
Several years ago, Israel paid $20 million for the low-end classification of Security Cooperation Participant in the JSF program.
Nine countries -- the US, UK, Italy, The Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark -- are full members of the program.
Last month, Israeli Defense Ministry Director-General Pinchas Buhris traveled to Washington to discuss Israel's request with Pentagon officials, who said the Obama administration would decide the issue within a few months.
By year's end, Israel and the US are supposed to sign a Letter of Agreement on the JSF, which may now cost more than $100 million per aircraft rather than Lockheed Martin's original estimate of $50-60 million.
Source: The Jerusalem Post