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Frozen Out: Israel Looking to Drop F-35 tender, buy Advanced F15-SE

Non Access to Advanced F35 Systems

I wrote about the cost spiral and the possibility of the IAF looking elsewhere previously, as I’ve followed the F-35 story here at the Hashmonean, a soaring price tag now double initial estimates and more critically the lack of willingness for Israel to customize the aircraft seems to spell doom for our initial F-35 / JSF purchase.

No F-22, no F-35

For the 1st time in who knows how long Israel will not field the USA’s most advanced generation of fighters. It looks like a stunning development for Lockheed, and a big win for Boeing. Lockheed stands to lose perhaps upward of 15 to 20 BILLION dollars on the sales. Sadly, relations between the US & Israel appear to be deteriorating..

(JPOST) A refusal by the United States to allow Israel to repair computer systems in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is at the heart of disagreements between the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon that have been holding up an official Israeli order for the fifth-generation fighter jet.

Defense officials told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that talks between the Israeli defense delegation in Washington and the Pentagon have picked up speed in recent weeks but have yet to result in agreement due to the US’s refusal to grant Israel access to the plane’s internal computer mainframe. [...]

In the long run the costs savings for Israel may be substantial, in training, maintenance, and upgrades to existing F-15 fleets. Nonetheless this would be a significant blow to American aviation prestige, the IAF is considered an air-force elite. With Lockheed’s latest & greatest planes not on Israeli tarmacs, it is unfortunate. The F-22 line has been shut down, only 187 planes produced. The F-35 a mixed international bag / consortium has lost a lot of luster of late, fairly shocking that countries like Turkey are in the program and Israel will not even fly the fighter it seems..

The F-15 SE / Stealth

Boeing F-15 SE unveiled on March 17th, 2009

Boeing F-15 SE unveiled on March 17th, 2009

Unveiled in late March by Boeing, the new plane features new aerodynamics to improve radar signature, enclosed bomb & weapons bays, and new advanced coatings. Also updated are avionics, systems & displays, fly by wire systems etc. A new breed for what is the most successful fighter in flight today, with the IAF having flown the Eagle for over 20 years with zero losses and a devastating kill ratio.

Clearly, this is not as stealthy as an F-35.. However, the F-35 when armed with external stores / weapons loses a lot of its stealth capabilities which are not nearly as advanced as the F-22′s from the get go.

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  • Jack Spratt

    The best estimate of the RCS of the SE was equal to that of the F-117a, which isn’t too shabby. Also, that was perhaps somewhat more RCS than an Israeli version because the Korean offering was reportedly hindered by something less than the best RAAM coatings. What the SE really needs is the new GE ACE multi-pass engine to wean it off of it’s gas guzzling ways, and get it up into the 40k per engine range of thrust.

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