이스라엘 공군이 도입할 예정인 F-35A Lightning II 관련 AW&ST 기사 입니다.
최종 본 계약은 2012년 중반에 체결될 것으로 알려져 있습니다만, 현재 이스라엘 정부가 미 행정부 및 제작사
Lockheed Martin 등과 진행하고 있는 도입 관련 최근 내용들이 상세히 언급되어 있습니다.
F-35A 가 이스라엘에 인도되는 시기와 성능 그리고 이스라엘 방산업체가 개발한 항전장비 및 공대공, 공대지
미사일의 장착 관련 내용도 포함하고 있습니다.
Israel reaffirms plans to take F-35 before USAF declares it operational
Aviation Week & Space Technology, 11/28/2011
Author : Alon Ben-David
Israel stands behind the F-35.
The Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter program may face a lot of uncertainty in the U.S., but the Israeli air force (IAF) is fiercely rejecting any suggestion that it explore other alternatives to the new fighter jet and is closing around plans to take deliveries of the F-35 “at the earliest date possible.” The IAF is scheduled to receive its first F-35s for training in the U.S. in late 2016, with plans to deploy them in Israel the following year. “We will deliver Israel a fully capable Block-3 F-35A,” Dave Scott, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 business development director tells Aviation Week. Yet, with the U.S. Air Force declaring that the JSF will become operational only in 2018, it is not clear whether the first aircraft for the IAF will have full JSF software or will only allow for flight training.
Moreover, unlike most program partners, who plan to procure a limited number of aircraft from the low-rate initial production (LRIP) line while deferring massive procurement during serial production, Israel’s first squadron of 19 F-35s will be fully procured out of the LRIP line. Five aircraft in LRIP 8 are to be delivered in 2016, seven in LRIP 9 in 2017 and seven more in 2018 out of LRIP 10.
“Procuring an LRIP aircraft is like buying a prototype,” one senior Israeli defense source tells Aviation Week. “You have to assume that these aircraft will suffer from childhood diseases and will require future changes.”
“It will not be different from the F-15As that Israel received in 1976,” notes a senior air force officer. “They also had some problems of an early version but provided Israel with a critical qualitative edge over its neighbors, just like we need now with the F-35.”
Israel is still negotiating the contract for developing the unique capabilities it requires for its first F-35 squadron under a $2.75 billion budget. Those include the installment of Israel’s Blue Cedar C4I system, as well as rewiring to accommodate Israeli electronic warfare (EW) systems in Apertures Band 2 and 5 in the belly and wings of the JSF. Israel also is planning to install an external EW pod on its F-35s.
Additional Israeli requirements, such as installing Rafael’s Python-5 air-to-air missile and Spice air-to-ground bomb in the F-35s internal weapon bay were deferred as costs of adjusting the aircraft and weapons to fit together were enormous. Israel also postponed its requirement to add a 600-gal. external fuel tank. The final contract for the first F-35 squadron should be inked by mid-2012.
As with much of Israel’s defense spending plan, developments in Iran are believed to be a consideration. Reportedly, Israeli leadership considers 2012 as the last window of opportunity to stop Iran’s suspected ambitions to develop nuclear weapons. But if the IAF is sent to launch a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities then, it is clear the F-35 would only reach Israel after the showdown, which many experts believe could trigger a regional war.
Yet, the IAF persistently refuses to consider buying a different fighter like Boeing’s F-15s in the interim to bolster its capabilities despite repeated pleas from other defense officials. “The only potential fighter is the F-15 and it costs almost like an F-35,” said the IAF officer. “In any case, even if we place an order for new F-15s today they will arrive no earlier than the F-35.”
Instead, the IAF will upgrade its fleets of F-15A/B/C/Ds and Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds to improve their capabilities and extend their lifespan. It will be forced to decommission its aging F-16A/Bs, as maintenance costs are skyrocketing. While the IAF is eager to start earmarking the budget for its next F-35 squadron, Israel is not ready to commit to another buy with uncertainty surrounding the future of U.S military aid to the country.
Still, beckoning Israel is Lockheed Martin’s carrot in the form of proposed contracts for Israeli industry in the F-35 program, totaling $4 billion, and the stick of canceling them. Elbit Systems’ share, in developing and manufacturing the helmet-mounted displays for the F-35, appears secure, unless the company cannot overcome the technical difficulties that recently emerged during development. Lockheed’s suggested contract with Israel Aerospace Industries — to manufacture 811 outer wings for the JSF — is more in jeopardy.
“Clearly we will not start a production line at IAI to manufacture wings for only the 19 Israeli aircraft,” said Scott. “Our proposal has the prospect of more than 15 years of IAI participation in the program.”
F-35A Lightning II ⓒ Lockheed Martin
F-35A Lightning II ⓒ Lockheed Martin
F-35 Lightning II Weapons Loading Trainer at Eglin AFB, Florida ⓒ USAF