January 05, 2010

Israel Will Not Compromise over Electronic Warfare Equipment for JSF

Author: Defence IQ
Posted: 12/24/2009 11:26:00 AM EST

Israel’s defence ministry has made it clear that a demand to equip its air force’s future fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters with Israeli-made electronic warfare systems will not be subject to any compromise. All the nation’s current strike aircraft, including Boeing F-15s and Lockheed F-16s, are equipped with locally developed electronic warfare systems.

The issue was brought up again during recent talks with US officials, and presented by Israel as a “no go” item. Other customer air forces may be prepared to settle for the integral electronic warfare systems to be supplied with the F-35. However, Israel believes that its locally developed electronic warfare equipment is necessary because has to face threats from US-and Russian-made aircraft and systems.

One solution could be to allow Israel to integrate some kind of nationally developed electronic warfare equipment as an “add-on” to the baseline system that is being developed through the JSF programme. In January 2010, the USA is expected to submit to Israel its offer and final price for an initial batch of F-35s, estimated to cost $137 million each.

Israel is expected to procure an initial batch of around 25 of the aircraft in the conventional take-off and landing configuration. Israel’s defence ministry will have until March 2010 to respond to the offer. It could sign a production contract by the end of next year, with deliveries expected to follow from 2016. In November 2009, the US F-35 Joint Program Office said that Israel could receive permission to integrate its own air-launched weapons with the JSF, potentially giving a boost to suppliers including Rafael.

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