Israel has awarded a $42 million contract to Lockheed Martin to provide expansive maintenance services to the Israeli Air Force for its fleet of F-35 fighter jets.
This is the first maintenance agreement signed between the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Lockheed Martin Israel, in which the aircraft manufacturer will provide expansive maintenance services to the Israeli Air Force, the Ministry of Defense stated.
As part of the agreement, over the next 10 years, Lockheed Martin will operate and maintain the advanced training center, which is home to the full mission simulator (FMS), at Israel’s Nevatim air base, the MoD explained.
The company will deploy experts and provide support and maintenance services for the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), a unique logistics and management system for the F-35 aircraft.
This is a five-year contract, which may be extended for an additional five years, with a scope of over NIS 150 million. In addition, as part of the agreement, around 25 employees from the southern region of Israel will be employed for the project.
“We welcome this agreement and see it as a first step to expanding our collaboration and transferring the maintenance responsibilities of the F-35 to centers in the State of Israel,” said Zeev Landau, MoD’s Chief of Air Force and Navy Procurement.
“This project is of great strategic importance, particularly for the independence of the Israeli Air Force, both in routine and emergency scenarios, but also for the economic growth of Israel’s south. Around 25 residents of the region will be employed within the project framework, and we hope that this number will continue to grow with the signing of additional maintenance contracts in the coming years,” he added.
“For the first time, Lockheed Martin Israel will provide services and maintain the sophisticated Full Mission Simulator and the ALIS maintenance and logistics system for the Israeli Air Force,” said Joshua Shani, CEO of Lockheed Martin Israel.”
“As such,” he continued, “the IAF will receive immediate service and support from a local Lockheed Martin Israel staff, in maintaining the F-35 aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s full mission simulator enables advanced operational training that simulates a variety of real-time scenarios, reducing training costs, yet ensuring the full readiness of pilots for operational activity.
“The ALIS system enables close monitoring of the maintenance and logistics needs and streamlines the level of preparedness and operational efficiency of the aircraft, hence the great importance of the agreement with the Ministry of Defense. We look forward to expanding our cooperation and developing additional projects related to the F-35 aircraft and other fields, with both the Ministry of Defense and Israeli defense industries.”
According to the agreement, Lockheed Martin will recruit around 25 new employees from the country’s southern region, Calcalist reported.
The training center, which is home to the full mission simulator (FMS) at Israel’s Nevatim air base, is located southeast of Be’er Sheva, the report said.
Israel was one of the first countries to acquire the F-35 next-generation warplane and last year said it was the first to use it operationally.
Click here for the full story, on the World Israel News website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The above contract demonstrates how even customers which have been given access to the F-35 electronic innards, like Israel, still need to pay Lockheed for “support and maintenance services for the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS)” which runs and manages F-35 maintenance operations.
For Israel, this is the first step in a long and expensive process to which it must adhere to ensure that its F-35 fighters remain airworthy – even if at a very low availability rate.)