A team of Israeli air force personnel has visited Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth facility in Texas, as part of the service's preparations for an initial batch of 20 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters that are due to receive some Israeli-made systems.
Israeli experts are working with the manufacturer to prepare the fifth-generation stealth fighter to accept the equipment, which will be installed after the nation's F-35s are supplied from 2017.
In July, sustained Israeli pressure resulted in an agreement that will allow the air force to enhance the capabilities of the F-35's electronic warfare (EW) systems, under a $450 million deal. The service's previous interest in changing radar equipment was dropped, however.
Sources suggest that the modifications will probably be achieved by allowing Israeli-made equipment to interface with the F-35's standard EW system.
Lockheed confirms that an increment one contract modification for Israel was signed by the F-35 Joint Program Office on 20 August. Valued at almost $207 million, this "includes the development of the hardware and software for the Israel F-35A CTOL [conventional take-off and landing] air system from the initial requirements development to the preliminary design review", the company says.