Israel wants the F35 to be its next generation fighter to eventually replace F16 which forms the bulk of the fleet ( over 300 ). Each F16 cost around $30 million compared to each F35 costing nearly $150 million that means 5 F16s for the price of 1 F35 for a country like Israel its never going to be able to afford F35 in any large numbers on top of that there are all kinds of extra problems other than the Israeli electronics not being allowed, without very expensive modifications it can't carry Israeli designed missiles so we will have to buy all American which will cost the Israeli arms companies millions, we are not allowed to make repairs ourselves even something as simple as changing out an engine it must go back to the US. So what happens if there is a war aircraft are damaged but because we are not allowed to make rapairs the US hasn't sold us any spare parts so that means an aircraft we paid millions for to defend the country is grounded until the war is over and it can be sent to the US. Its a complete waste and we are buying it only because the US wants us to buy it give some busiiness to Lockheed Martin as everybody else is either cutting down on the number of aircraft they planned to buy or are just shopping elsewhere because F35 is not the $60 million it was originally supposed to cost. Israel is getting the very dummed down standard export version ( not same as the US ) Turkey is building the entire plane under license and customized to their requirements not the inferior export model. The arabs are going to be buying soon enough and their planes will be identical to Israels planes in every single way except for the fact Israels planes will have the IAF logo on their wings. As for the US saying Israel can instal its own systems in later purchases that is dependent on the US administration at the time of the purchase any commitments given today are not binding on future administrations so we have no cast iron guarentees on anything and in future we will have even less leverage because we now operate the planes its to late to say well if you don't let us instal our own kit on this batch we won't buy F35. We got a bad deal and shouldn't have bought it. What Israel should have done was invest money in developing a fighter UAV for its next generation fighter aircraft, built in Israel, as its unmanned doesn't have to compromise preformance for making it possible for a human to fly, probably alot cheaper to buy and operate, can be customized any way Israel likes and later on it can be exported so it will even pay for itself. F22 & F35 are the last manned fighters the US intends to build so Israel has an opportunity to get in on the unmanned aircraft before the US. In the short term buy the F15SE its not a full stealth aircraft but its much more suited to Israel than the F35 and cheaper and israel already operates the F15 so that would be a natural evolution. If not F15SE why not an equivilent of F22 which is far superior to F35 thats being jointly developed by India and Russia if they can sell the right aircraft at the right price we should go with that especially considering that Russia has no export conditions what you do to your plane after you take delivery is up to you modify it as much as you like. We have just wasted billions on a plane thats no good for our needs and harmed our own defense industry as the Israeli companies won't be developing missiles for Israels next generation fighter.
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from the article: Israel to purchase 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets