Another small step to correct a big mistake

Determination is sometimes a partial compensation for stupidity – and this has been proved again with the Israeli F-35.

A short reminder – because of basic stupidity, the Israeli ministry of defence did not join the F-35 programme as full partner. After dragging its feet, Israel was accepted with the lowest possible status.

This, when for Israel full partnership is no less than crucial. That was some years ago, but it resulted in a process that could have been avoided.

This process was aimed at achieving the Israeli air force’s (IAF’s) target of having its F-35s equipped with some systems made in Israel. This would in turn make this advanced fighter able to answer operational problems IAF commanders.

Last week, Lockheed Martin won a $207 million contract issued by the US Navy to develop and demonstrate hardware and software for the F-35 that will be sold to the IAF.

This contract covers the first increment of a system development and demonstration phase for a foreign military sales agreement with Israel.

The company will develop the hardware and software for Israel’s F-35A from the initial requirement development phase up to the preliminary design review.

This is also the first proof that the IAF’s effort was successful, and that the fighters flown in Israel will be different in some ways.

The modifications covered by the contract will allow the IAF to put an “add on” electronic warfare suite on its F-35s, which will work with the integral one supplied with the fighter. It will also allow the IAF to use a different communications system and some other classified systems.

So, finally, the process of making the IAF’s F-35s a little different is getting results.

This effort could have been avoided, however, if the people in the Israeli ministry of defence were more farsighted.

Officials very frequently lack this capability.

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