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Israel airs requests for purchase of Lockheed Martin C-130J and F-35

The Israeli government has issued letters of request for the purchase of between three and five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 tactical transports and an initial 25 Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Robert Trice, the company's senior vice-president for business development, confirmed the developments during a press conference in Tel Aviv on 22 May.

The Israeli air force last year issued a request for information on the C-130J, with the service planning to field its first example in 2013 to partially replace some of its 18 C-130E/Hs. It has also already begun evaluating Israeli-made systems to be installed on the type.

F-35
 © USAF

The price of the C-130J had until now delayed any serious discussion on a new purchase, but Trice says an increased production rate will bring the type's unit price down. Israeli sources say each aircraft will be available for around $75 million.

Israel's request for the JSF is for 25 aircraft in the US Air Force's F-35A conventional take-off and landing configuration, plus an option for another 50. However, Lockheed sources confirm that the option may also include the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B in development for the US Marine Corps and the UK.

Deliveries to the Israeli air force are scheduled from 2013-14, with the nation having joined the JSF programme as a Security Cooperation Participant in February 2002.

Despite its low status on the programme, the nation's defence industry is already working on dedicated systems for its next-generation fighter. Israel Military Industries is developing internally carried high impact bombs for the type, while Cyclone Aviation and Israel Aerospace Industries are both eyeing an air force requirement for extended range capability, respectively designing new external and conformal fuel tanks.




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