İsrail ve havacılık endüstrisi ile ilgili son derece ilginç ve ibret verici (olması gereken) bir makale.. İsrail'in Joint Strike Fighter projesindeki bazı kritik teknoloji unsurlarına erişimi ABD tarafından engellenmişti. Buna gerekçe olarak da İsrail'in ABD'nin çıkarlarına aykırı şekilde bazı ülkelerle (Çin) işbirliği yapması ve bazı önemli ABD silah teknolojilerinin bu ülkelere izinsiz aktarılması gösterilmişti.
Lavi saldırı uçağı projesinin 1987'de ABD baskısıyla iptali, İsrail havacılık endüstrisi ve İsrail Hava Kuvvetleri'nin geleceği ile ilgili pek çok çevrede kuşku doğurmuştu.. ABD üretimi en modern savaş uçaklarına herhangi bir kısıtlama olmadan erişebilen ve bu uçakları kendi üretimi modern aviyonik ve silah sistemleri ile donatabilen İsrail havacılık endüstrisi, JSF planlarının suya düşmesi ihtimaline karşılık yeni alternatifleri düşünmek zorunda.. Uzun süre tartışılan olası F/A-22 Raptor siparişi de, bu uçağın astronomik birim maliyeti yüzünden pek gerçekçi görünmüyor. ABD Hava Kuvvetleri tarafından toplam sipariş miktarı 179'a indirilen projede, uçak birim maliyeti şimdiden 300 milyon $ sınırını geçmiş durumda...
Hava kuvvetleri esas olarak ABD yapımı uçaklarla donanmış olan İsrail, yeni açılım olasılıklarını değerlendirebilir. En muhtemel adayların başında Hindistan geliyor. İsrail'in bu ülkeyle son derece büyük hacimli bir savunma işbirliği mevcut ve iki ülkenin de hava kuvvetleri için gelecek nesil savaş uçağı gereksinimi bulunmakta..
The next-generation IAF fighter
By Moshe Arens
F-35 is the designation given to the next generation fighter now in development for the U.S. Armed Forces. It is also labeled the Joint Strike Fighter, because the same basic aircraft is intended to serve the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marines, and the U.K. Navy. This commonality is expected to significantly bring down the unit cost of the aircraft when they go into production some years from now.
The fly-away unit target price at present is $28 million. Accepted as "full partners" in this grand development program are: Britain, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, and Australia. Conspicuously missing from this list is Israel. Until last week Israel was an associate partner, but it has now been suspended from this minor role, because of American suspicions that Israel is engaging in technology transfer to China.
The F-35 had its configuration frozen during the design phase, which effectively means that Israeli systems and subsystems, including air-to-air and air-to ground missiles, will not be incorporated in any versions of the aircraft. This is most likely to be the case even if Israel will be permitted to procure the F-35 at some future date. The only exception will be the pilot's helmet-mounted display to be provided by a partnership of the U.S. Kaiser Electronics and Israel's Elbit companies. Considering the many partners in the F-35 program, it is not impossible that the aircraft will in time find its way into the inventory of the air forces of some of Israel's neighbors.
This leaves the Israeli aeronautical industry with a problem regarding the market for its products in future years, and the Israel Air Force in a quandary regarding its next generation fighter aircraft. Could it possibly be the F-22 which is scheduled to attain Operational Capability in December 2005? But if and when this aircraft will be available for procurement by Israel, its unit cost is most likely to be way over $100 million. That may well be a prohibitive price. Or will the F-16 be the last manned fighter aircraft in the IAF, to be followed by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)?
Everything would have been different had the senseless decision to cancel the Lavi fighter program not been taken 18 years ago. The IAF would for some years now have been flying the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, the Israeli aeronautical industry would have received a great boost, and there would have been a significant incentive to include Israel as a full partner in any new aircraft project in the U.S. So where is the former Air Force general who at the time told the assembled government ministers that the IAF would be acquiring the F-22 in a few years and therefore had no need for the Lavi? Where are the "experts" who lectured the government that Israel should only be developing systems but not platforms? How was the unique capability that Israel had developed to design top-of-the-line fighter aircraft squandered?
The IAF can now await the completion of the F-35 development in anticipation that it may be permitted to procure this aircraft, possibly some 10 years from now.
Unlike previous procurement of U.S.-manufactured aircraft, this time it will not be an aircraft tailor-made for Israel. It will have to be bought as is. Or the IAF may resign itself to the fact that the F-16 will be the last of its manned aircraft, and concentrate on the development of UAVs. Israel is one of the leaders in this field, and should be able to come up with advanced and competitive systems.
Or else, Israel can try to put together a consortium of countries that are not partners in the Joint Strike Fighter program, for the development of a new generation fighter aircraft. France and India might be potential candidates for such a program
By now everybody should have learned that fighter development and production stretches over many years, and long-term planning is required. There is a little time for thought and discussion, but not too much.
Israel Gets Limited Info on New U.S. Fighter: Pentagon
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
The United States is denying Israel access to some Joint Strike Fighter technology and information because of concerns about sharing with third countries, a Pentagon spokesman said April 21.
“At the moment there are some types of technology and information we’re not comfortable sharing while some issues can be worked out. Those issues are being worked out in a bilateral fashion,” said Lawrence DiRita, the Pentagon spokesman.
Asked whether the issue was over what other countries Israeli might share the information with, DiRita said, “That’s a concern. The question is, ‘What can we share with Israel?’ and there is some information and technology that we’re not while we work this out.”
DiRita would not say whether the United States was specifically concerned about Israeli arms sales to China, but the move comes amid reports that Washington suspects Israel of upgrading radar-hunting Harpy drones it sold to China.
Israel is a partner in the development of the Joint Strike Fighter, along with a number of other countries.
DiRita said Israel is still a partner in the program, and the United States remains committed to selling it the aircraft in the future.