Here is yet another example of U.S. pressuring Israel to use a particular technology in order to boost its economic viability.
Our thanks to Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis who has been providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations to the world since 1992 for the tip! (http://www.imra.org.il)
Israel Plans To Replace F-16s With JSF
|Courtesy - Lockheed Martin Aerospace|
TEL AVIV [MENL] -- The Israel Air Force plans to retire much of its F-16 multi-role fighter fleet when the Joint Strike Fighter arrives in 2017. Military sources said the air force would phase out the F-16s acquired in the 1990s with the arrival of the fifth-generation F-35. They said the first step would be the dismantling of an air force squadron that consists of F-16Cs.
"These [F-16Cs] are the oldest operational F-16s in the fleet," a source said. "Over the last decade, we have concentrated our operations on the F-16I."
Israel, despite concern over flaws in the aircraft, has already ordered 33 F-35s from Lockheed Martin. The sources said the retirement of additional F-16 units would depend on additional JSF orders. The air force was believed
to operate 125 F-16 C and D aircraft.
The sources said Israel has been rebuffed in efforts to acquire a planned stealth variant of the F-15 fighter-jet. They said the air force has sought the F-15 to guarantee combat operations in case of difficulties with JSF.
Under its multi-year military budget, the air force was ordered to close training and combat squadrons. Over the last two years, the air force shut down both F-16 and Cobra attack helicopter units in expectation of the JSF
as well as additional AH-64 attack helicopters.
At the same time, the air force was preparing to use additional U.S. aid to acquire missile and rocket defense systems. The sources cited the medium-range David's Sling and short-range Iron Dome, meant to be coproduced
in the United States.
"The Americans are pushing us to use their assistance to acquire defensive systems as well as additional JSF," the source said.