Nov 8, 2014
Israel Ministers may look to shoot down F-35 jet deal
The deal for the new squadron, was sealed last month during Israel's Defense Ministervisit to the US.
Each F-35A, to be named Adir in Israel, costs roughly $150 million. Israel already ordered an initial squadron of 19 F-35A Lightning II jets in 2010.
Among the arguments against the deal is that the multitude of enemy rockets that could target Israel’s airfields means the country shouldn’t rely too heavily on its combat aircraft.
Steinitz noted that there is no certainty that the F-35, which has been dogged by development problems, will have a true stealth profile given the expected advances in radar carried by enemy plans, a factor that will reduce its air superiority.
The second squadron of planes is expected in 2019, and the deal also reportedly includes an arrangement according to which the Israel Aircraft Industries will build 811 pairs of wings for Lockheed Martin.
Some minister said that there are “lots of areas where the money is needed,” for example to acquire replacements for the vulnerable “matchbox-like” M-113 armored personnel carriers in which some Golani troops entered Gaza this summer. A July 20 ambush left seven troops dead in one of the antiquated, malfunctioning APCs in the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya.
A senior officer in the IDF ground forces told Channel 2 in 2013 that with the money slated for the F-35s, the Defense Ministry could have bought 600 new tanks or hundreds of Iron Dome and Arrow interceptors, or generally used the funds to upgrade the entire ground force.