The Jerusalem Post has reported that Israeli defence forces believe that the F-35 will be a “game changer”.
According to the report, the Israeli defence establishment said the jet, which will be officially unveiled by manufacturer Lockheed Martin in a ceremony for Israel on Wednesday, will be a “game changer”.
IAF chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said:
“We in the IAF call the F-35 the fifth generation. The whole of the IAF is going to adapt itself to this vehicle, which will take us up to another level.”
He also added that the jet will greatly aid the IAF’s goals of improving intelligence-gathering and its ability to deploy precision-guided weapons.
The unveiling ceremony in Texas will be attended by Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman and senior IAF officers.
Keith Tucker, director of the Strategic Studies Group at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics also made veiled references to the plane’s largely classified ability to execute cyber-attacks from the air.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
“The plane will enable the IAF to see its enemies before they can see it, and to strike them before they realize they are under attack.
These advantages are especially pertinent against the IDF’s principal military foe, Hezbollah, which according to international media reports has advanced radar-based surfaceto- air missile batteries, and a vast arsenal of 120,000 offensive rockets and missiles. Its stealth radar signature gives the F-35 the ability to attack these SAM batteries before they can be used, and to do so long-range.”
In March 2016, the annual Selected Acquisition Reports (SAR) for 2015 was released. This report provides status on programme cost, schedule, and performance as of December 2015.
It has been revealed that the Pentagon’s estimate for the total acquisition cost of the F-35 program is $379 billion, down from $391 billion projected in 2014.
According to a statement from the F-35’s project office:
“The overall Acquisition Cost (RDT&E, Procurement, and MILCON) of the program decreased by $7B in base year 2012 dollars (BY12$) and $12.1B in then-year dollars (TY$). The increase of $16B (BY12) and $95.2 (TY$) to Total Program Cost is the net impact resulting from a transfer of $300M to RDT&E, a $7.5B decrease in Procurement, an approximately $200M increase in MILCON, and a $23B increase in O&S.
The RDT&E increase is the result of a transfer of money from the Procurement account to the RDT&E account to fund the modification of 24 Operational Test aircraft for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, in accordance with Service guidance.
This transfer out of Procurement into RDT&E had zero net effect on Total Program Cost.”
According to F-35 Joint Program Office chief Lt. Gen Christopher Bogdan:
“We are coming down the learning curve and the price curve a little steeper. We are coming down the price curve faster than we anticipated years ago.”
F-35 is currently progressing at a rapid pace with deliveries starting to ramp up.