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Sun, Nov 15, 2009

Israel Wants A Say In F-35 Production

Multi-Billion-Dollar Order May Hang In The Balance

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Monday with U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates to discuss potential Israeli involvement in the production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as a possible condition of purchase.

During the meeting, as well as meeting held the previous week, Israeli officials said they might be reluctant to purchase the F-35 if it were not involved in the production of the aircraft.

The Jeruselum Post reports that if the price were reduced from the initial $130M per aircraft, it might be willing to bend on the production requirement. The Israli Defense Ministry says it expects to hear from the Pentagon soon about the cost issue. They also need to talk about integrating Israeli defense components into the aircraft, and a maintenance plan that doesn't require sending the airplanes to Europe.

Israel had originally expressed an interest in purchasing 25 Joint Strike Fighters, but delays in the program mean the first delivery of an F-35 to Isreal will likely be pushed beyond the original 2014 target date.



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