Posts Tagged ‘Lockheed Martin’
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IAF Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Tal Kelman joined top U.S. government and Lockheed Martin officials on Wednesday in celebrating the rollout of the “Adir” — Israel’s first F-35A Lightning II Stealth fighter jet.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro and Israeli Minister without portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi also joined the celebration, as did 400 other guests from government, military and the industrial sectors. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Congressman Craig Goldman were present as well.
“Israel is proud to be the first country in the area to receive and operate [the Stealth fighter],” Liberman said. “The F-35 is the best aircraft in the world and the choice of all our military leadership at its highest level. It is clear and obvious to us and to the entire region that the new F-35, the Adir, will create real deterrence and enhance our capabilities for a long time.”
The aircraft has an advanced capability to defeat emerging threats, including advanced missiles and heavily-defended air space, combining advanced low observable stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment support.
“The F-35 technology represents the crown jewel of air-power superiority and will therefore be a great contribution to the IDF’s air force,” Liberman said, stressing that diplomatic tensions between Israel and the U.S. have not affected security cooperation between the two nations.
“It’s not a secret that we have from time to time some disagreements, some disputes, with the U.S. on the political level regarding some solutions with our neighbors,” he noted. “But when it comes to Israel’s security, we really enjoy full understanding, fruitful cooperation and strong commitment to our security concerns and needs.”
Lockheed Martin chair, president and CEO Marillyn Hewson agreed. “We’re honored to partner with Israel and help strengthen the deep and lasting partnership between our two nations,” she said. “The F-35 will help Israel remain a beacon of strength and stability in the region and support a safe and secure homeland for generations to come.”
Israel’s first delegation of pilots will arrive next month in the United States to begin simulator and ground-based training on the new stealth fighter. A total of 12 pilots are set for training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and by the middle of next year will have completed a 100-day U.S. Air Force training program that prepares them for actual flight training on the aircraft in Israel.
By 2018, another 10 to 15 pilots are to be selected for another round of training, according to a report last week by Defense News. Meanwhile, Israel has sent dozens of people to Eglin Air Force Base to attend maintenance training courses that can last between two to four months.
The IAF is working with Lockheed Martin and F-35 program officials to complete the construction of the Israeli logistics center at Nevatim Air Base in in the Negev. The center will use Lockheed Martin’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), a worldwide sustainment network that provides maintenance support for the aircraft for the duration of its projected 55-year lifespan.
The point of the independent logistics center in southern Israel has to do with the unique conditions under which Israelis are forced to live: The constant threat of rocket fire and other terror attacks makes it necessary for Israel to be able to maintain and repair its F-35 fleet immediately, on site, if and when the aircraft is being used during a conflict.Hana Levi Julian
Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) is coming to Washington DC on his inaugural visit as Defense Minister against the background of a dispute between the White House and Congress over increasing US support for Israel’s missile defense research and development. He’ll be meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who maintained a personal friendship with Liberman’s ousted predecessor, Moshe Ya’alon (Likud). Liberman and Carter are expected to discuss the White House proposal for a long-term US military aid, which would be larger than the current package, but conditioned on Israeli agreement not to solicit additional military aid from Congress.
Last Tuesday the Administration opposed a call by Congress to increase funding for Israel’s missile defense program by $455 million, to $600 million, well above the 2017 fiscal year White House budget request.
Israel is looking to expand the US annual military aid package from the current $3.2 billion to upwards of $4.5 billion, a portion of which would go to purchases from Israeli companies. The White House is looking at a more modest increase over 10 years, and for the entire amount to be spent in the US.
According to a senior defense ministry source speaking to Ma’ariv, the military aid package is not the central purpose of the visit, rather the trip is mainly planned for introductory meetings with key players in the defense department and in Congress. “We don’t expect dramatic breakthroughs in the coming week,” the source said.
Liberman will also meet with the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Committees.
On Wednesday, Liberman will attend the Lockheed Martin roll out ceremony for the F-35 fighter planes purchased by the Israeli air force — the first of which is expected to arrive in Israel in December. The defense minister will also tour an Elbit Systems plant and meet in New York with the defense ministry purchasing delegation.
According to Walla, there is a dispute between the professional echelon in the defense ministry and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the American proposal, with the DM staff recommending signing the aid package now, and Netanyahu preferring to wait out this administration and dealing with the next president, Clinton or Trump, either one of whom would be more pro-Israel.
Liberman is much more liked by the current administration than Netanyahu, because back when Secretary of State John Kerry was still pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the 1967 borders, Liberman, then Israel’s foreign minister, supported the US effort, saying this was the best deal Israel could expect.
In that vein, Liberman is expected to use the opportunity of his US visit to allay fears regarding his hawkish reputation on defense, by making a major dovish statement about the two-state-solution.JNi.Media
The F-35 fighter jets ordered by Israel have been beset by one problem after another, repeatedly delaying delivery of the aircraft. But one of the most serious issues is the recurring manufacturing problems in its engine production.
The engines are to be installed in the fighters, built by Lockheed Martin Corp. United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney military aircraft unit delivered the engines on time as promised last year. But flaws in the “turbine blades and electronic control systems resulted in maintenance activity to remove suspect hardware from the operational fleet,” according to the Pentagon’s Selected Acquisition Report sent to Congress, Bloomberg News reported.
Pratt & Whitney “has taken action to improve quality surveillance within their manufacturing processes,” according to the report, which was prepared with the F-35 program office.
Manufacturing quality assurance experts at the Defense Department also worked to ensure improvements were in place as the firm moves head with production of the single-engine aircraft.
One of the quality issues described in an email with Bloomberg as minor by Joe DellaVedova, a spokesperson for the Pentagon’s F-35 office, was a June 2014 second-stage engine fire that grounded 97 of the fighter jets from test flights. The engine part that led to the fire had to be redesigned and the issue prevented the F-35 from making a debut at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK.
According to the contract management agency, there were five incidents involving F-35 engine quality deficiencies at Pratt & Whitney. They involved a low-pressure turbine blade, a high-pressure turbine blade and a “roll-post actuator.”
The historical average is eight such incidents a year in a four year period, according to the agency.
Rolls Royce Holdings Plc, subcontractor to Pratt & Whitney, was cited by the agency in July “for failure to notify the government of known non-conformance on drive shafts” from a supplier.
The response by Rolls Royce spokesperson George McLaren was an email that pointed out, “no F-35 production or flight interruptions occurred.”
Perhaps everything’s okay as long as nothing appears broken and no one is hurt or killed during the test flight phase.
But it’s scary to think that an aircraft still having this many problems is the “stealth fighter” Israel is depending on to lead the fight against Iran, should there be a question of taking a military stance against Tehran.
IAF teams have reportedly been working with Lockheed Martin in Texas in order to tweak the aircraft’s design into place before the first F-35s are due to arrive in Israel towards the end of this year. But there is now a real question about the delivery date, given the ongoing difficulties identified with the engine production, and with another issue as well: the flow of software data between the jet and base.
A revelation made by Defense Aerospace last November (2015) exposed what could a nasty side note on the part of the American military in terms of the jet’s design when in use by a client nation.
The publication wrote the U.S. made a unilateral decision to base all F-35 software laboratories on U.S. territory, where U.S. personnel will manage operation and support of all the F-35 fleets, foreign and domestic.
But that’s incredibly dangerous.
The F-35 must maintain permanent data exchanges with the software labs and logistic support computers to operate effectively.
Such a move, unprecedented and dangerous, introduces a massive risk that the jets may be disabled or even downed in extreme cases, any time the two-way flow of information is disrupted for any reason.
This vulnerability is not necessarily one attributable to negative intent, but rather loss of Internet on the part of the U.S. operators for any reason – accidental corruption of a router or cable, malicious Russian submarine cutting an undersea Internet cable, etc. – and one that could result in the death of valuable personnel and loss of a $100 million aircraft.Hana Levi Julian
Saudi Arabia may buy $5.4 billion worth of PAC-3 missiles as part of an effort by the Obama to soothe Riyadh’s anger over the nuclear agreement with Iran.
The State Dept. approved the Lockheed missile sale, which also would be another plum for the military-industrial complex.
Lockheed stated, “Lockheed Martin is supporting the US government and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as they discuss the potential sale of additional PAC-3 Missiles as part of the upgrade of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Force.”Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Lockheed-Martin is studying an Israel request for a longer flight range that would make refueling easier.
The manufacturer of the F-35 stealth attack plane, which Israel might use to attack Iran, is examining an Israeli request to extend the flight range by 30 percent, Amir Rapaport of the Israel Defense website reported Thursday.
Approximately 1,000 miles (1,500 kilometers) separate Israel and Iran, and the current F-35 is designed to fly approximately the same distance without refueling.
The IDF has asked the range to be extended to 1,500 miles, according to Rapaport.
That still would require refueling before Israeli attack planes could return home, but a longer flight range would preclude refueling en route or having to use a base closer to Iran, such as Azerbaijan. A longer flight range also would widen the choices where Israeli pilots could land for refueling on their way home from a bombing mission.
Israel Defense noted that special versions of the F-15 and F-16 include additional fuel tanks, but that option is less practical for the F-35. Even adding fuel capacity by 30 percent would make the airplane larger, challenge engineers to retain the F-35’s stealth capabilities.
IAF teams reportedly are working with Lockheed-Martin in Texas before the first F-35s are due to arrive in Israel towards the end of 2016.
As in the previous planes, Israel has introduced several improvements for the stealth fighter.
Rapaport wrote that sources said:
Israel will significantly improve the aircraft as it once did with the F-15 and F-16.
The F-35 is considered by many Israeli defense officials to be its answer to Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon if an agreement between the P5+1 powers and Tehran does not halt the program.
Below: Video of F-35 in action
Israel’s ministerial committee is revisiting a preliminary deal to buy 25 to 31 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp.
The committee allegedly wants to halve the tentative order by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, according to Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.
A majority of committee members were opposed to the deal as it currently stands, Steinitz told Reuters on Monday. The ministers suggested a purchase of 10 to 15 planes instead, with a final decision to come in the near future.
Among the reasons cited for the decision was the issue of cuts in the defense budget, as well as questions over whether the F-35’s range, payload and maneuverability really met Israel’s needs.
An original contract signed in 2010 to purchase 19 of the warplanes for $275 billion left open the option to buy 75 of the jets, or three squadrons.
However, there is a growing sense among some Israelis that it is time for the Jewish State to begin producing its own weapons and ammunition — including its own warplanes.
This summer’s block by the White House on delivery of Hellfire missiles during the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge — in fact, its holdup of any military hardware whatsoever — did not sit well with the Israeli public, and served as a wakeup call even to those on the moderate left end of the political spectrum.
“We are not the Defense Ministry’s rubber stamp,” Steinitz told Reuters. Nevertheless, a source in the defense establishment told the news agency the ministerial committee is likely to compromise on the deal, possibly purchasing 13 of the F-35s this year, and another 18 in 2017.
The F35s that were purchased in 2010 are scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2018.Hana Levi Julian