Israel closer to F-35 fighter jets' purchase
Tel Aviv, Israel - New request for proposal presented by Tel Aviv after American requirements
(WAPA) - After the letter of request (LOR) presented last week (see AVIONEWS) Israel issued an updated request for proposal (RFP) to solve some problems underlined by the United States concerning the sale of 25 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) to the Jewish country.
In particular the American don't want to allow Israel to access their network-linked electronic warfare systems, which allow aircraft to share information; furthermore the Pentagon would have communicated its preference for sending the F-35s to Europe for maintenance, a request that an Israeli said "Doesn't make sense". However, all problems would be "On the right course to be solved".
The contract might be signed in early 2010 and deliveries would start between 2014 and 2015. The cost per unit would be of about US$100 million. Israel is understood to be interested in the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) version F-35B, but a final decision is yet to be taken. Lockheed Martin produces two more versions: F-35A, conventional take off and landing, and carrier-based F-35C. (Avionews)