Israeli F-35 purchase decision imminent (3)

21:51, July 21, 2010      

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The seasoned Israeli journalist believes the deal will come to fruition imminently. The price just falls within the budget Israel set aside for the purchase and he maintains that a series of technological disputes has been resolved to the satisfaction of both the U.S. and Israel.

Israel's air force requested certain alterations to the specifications of the aircraft and its munitions capabilities. These changes will be carried out for the order which is expected to number 19 planes, fewer than was originally planned.

Likewise, the Americans have agreed that they will provide almost all of the maintenance within the country, with only major repairs to be carried out elsewhere.

The final point of contention already resolved is that Israeli defense companies will be allowed to become third-tier partners in the project. That means contracts to the tune of some 4 billion dollars headed in Israel's direction.

On the electronic warfare front, a creative solution is around the corner, according to Ben-David. That agreement would allow Israel to install some of its own systems but would enable the U.S. to retain the source codes.

As a result of the progress made in all these areas, it does appear as though Israel will be the first country not directly involved in the project to place an order for F-35s.

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