FORT WORTH, Texas --- Following the Israeli Government decision to select the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as the Israel Air Force's next-generation fighter aircraft, Israeli Ministry of Defense Director General (Maj. Gen. Ret.) Udi Shani signed the Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the procurement of the F-35 aircraft earlier today in New York. Israel will be the first country to receive the F-35 through the United States government's Foreign Military Sales process.
"We're very pleased with the Government of Israel's decision to move forward with the U.S. government's Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the F-35," said Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration. "This is another step in the longstanding relationship between Lockheed Martin and the nation of Israel. The Lightning II will strengthen Israel's national security posture both militarily and industrially."
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, advanced sustainment, and lower operational and support costs.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's 2009 sales from continuing operations were $44.5 billion.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Israel Defense Force has posted a news item related to the F-35 on its website, but both Hebrew and English versions are inaccessible from France, were the Embassy press office is moreover on voicemail, no doubt to prevent leaks of highly classified information on the subject.
This did not prevent the Jerusalem Post from reporting that the LOA covers 20 aircraft and will cost “nearly” $3 billion, with deliveries to begin in 2016. Israel has an option on 75 additional F-35s.
The newspaper added that “The first batch will have a configuration similar to those used by the US Air Force, with minor changes. The second batch, likely to arrive in the second half of the decade, will already be designed according to Israeli specifications and include locally-designed and manufactured systems.)