“There’s a part of Israel in every F-35 that’s ever been built,” a Lockheed Martin senior executive told a gathering of air power professionals here Thursday.
Speaking at an annual event of Israel Defense and the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Gary North, vice president for customer requirements at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said the firm has already contracted more than $1 billion worth of structures, subsystems and components with Israeli industry.
And over the lifetime of the program, assuming Israel concludes follow-on buys for the full 75 planes authorized by the U.S. government, Israeli content in the multinational program is expected to exceed $4 billion, he said.
“We’re very excited about our partnership with the Israeli industry,” said North.
Israel has contracted for 33 F-35A-model aircraft thus far, five of which are now in-country. A third tranche for another 17 F-35As have been approved by the government, and conclusion of the pending contract will bring the Israel Air Force’s fleet a full two squadrons of 50 planes.
As for the remaining 25 aircraft pre-approved for Israel by Washington, Israel Air Force officials are beginning to speak openly about its desire for the F-35B-Short Takeoff and Landing (STOVL) model. Read more at Defense News.