Lavi was superior to F16 financially and in combat. It was able to carry more weapons than F16, it was lighter, it was a dog fighter at least as much if not more than F16 it was designed specifically for that. it could carry alot of fuel for its small size. It cost less than F16 per unit and also unlike F16, it was very easy to quickly and cheaply turn it into a jet trainer so no need to buy extra planes to dedicate to training pilots. The Lavi was a dam good plane and Israel learned alot from it. Many of the systems developed originally for Lavi were later used in the Merkava, Israeli UAVS and some of the electronics used in Israels F16s. Its just a shame that they killed the thing. Yes during the development stage its expensive everything is at that stage but when it came to buying and operating the things it would be much cheaper than F16 and we could have eventually exported it but we can't export F16. Congress wanted the Lavi dead so they could not only export F16 to Israel but also ensure that there will be no competition to what at the time was the US premiere jet fighter .... they wanted to make sure foreigners were going to by flying F16 not Lavi. So the US did everything possible on their side to kill Lavi and so because of the state of Israels economy in the 80s and the fact that the US was now offering F16 which it previously refused to do the Knesset voted 61/59 to kill Lavi and go with the F16 costing the country thousands of jobs and ensuring that we would remain dependent on US jets.
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from the article: Israel to purchase 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets