23 May 2009

Israel May Drop JSF

So, we now have a report that Israel may order the semi-stealthy "Silent Eagle" if it does not get technical data on the computer for the F-35 JSF.

The claim is that they need to be able to repair the systems under combat conditions, but the counter claim by the US that they will have sufficient spares to swap them out seems to be convincing to me, so I think that there may be other issues.

First is the price. With an order of 75 aircraft, and a price of up to $20 billion, the cost of the aircraft is $266 million each (!), and that is simply not affordable.

Heck, the good old USA can't afford more F-22s at a mere (!) 185 million each.

More significant, however, is that without this access, the Israelis will be unable to qualify their own systems on the aircraft.

This means that they cannot configure their own weapons, or their own avionics in such a system, means that, for example, they could not make adjustments to the AESA radar in order to jam some new sensor that was fielded, or install a dedicated jamming system on the aircraft.

I think that idea that they would be at the mercy of Lockheed-Martin for timely software upgrades to counter a new weapons system that the Russians or Chinese ship to the Syrians scares the hell out of the IAF.


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