With the IAF soon to procure Boeing F-15s or a third squadron of Lockheed Martin's F-35s, the two US companies' executives made their case at the "Globes" Defense Industry Conference in Tel Aviv yesterday.
Brig. Gen (res.) Avi Barber, VP Boeing MDS said, "It is not only the aircraft - but what our defense industries put on to it and in a way that strengthens R&D, and which subsequently increases their exports,"
Barber gave a comprehensive summary of the F-15 IA combat aircraft's capabilities ahead of the soon to be decided procurement choice for the Israel Air Force between a third squadron of Lockheed Martin's F-35s or Boeing's new F-15s, which can carry larger payloads of munitions to a wide range of targets.
He added, "The F-15 IA aircraft are completely different - another generation from the F-35. It is equipped with a touch screen that reads infra-red coordinates manufactured by Israeli company Elbit Systems. The moment that we go into a project like this, we will undertake orders from Israel's defense industries, which will be asked to develop systems that are several generations ahead and later on that will also expand export opportunities and give a strong boost on world markets."
Lockheed Martin VP customer requirements Gary North, a former combat pilot and Head of the Pacific Air Forces, said, "The Israel Air Force works on the most complicated and advanced aircraft in the world. When the F-35 reached Israel it changed the dynamics in the region. All of us know that this is a tough neighborhood and the capabilities of this aircraft are suited for the operational requirements, providing major operational flexibility. We expect to increase the munitions payload capability in the future."
North detailed the F-35's capabilities and stressed its contribution to Israel's defense industries, for example the helmets integrated into the aircraft by Elbit Systems.
He added, "The battle today is in effect the battle of the future." He said that 20 F-35s had reached Israel to date and that the aircraft is in operational use and are greatly appreciated. He stressed that there are components from Israel's defense industries included in all the aircraft worldwide. "We are not sitting back. We are working daily on building the most advanced capabilities."
Boeing VP and Boeing Israel president Gen. (res) David Ivri, the former commander of the Israel Air Force, told the Conference that the IAF must take into account diversifying the aircraft at its disposal and that F-15s, which were first procured in 1976, should be combined with the F-35 stealth aircraft, and that each of the aircraft had its advantages.
He stressed that the F-15 is an aircraft that can receive changes and additions in the broadest possible way, so that it can be adapted to the contemporary and future battlefields. Among other things, he revealed that F-15 aircraft in the service of the IAF can take a payload of 24 especially precise GPS-guided glide bombs, or air-to-air missiles designed to intercept cruise missiles. He said that the US Air Force is currently equipping its F-15s with these bombs, while using the F-35s for attack purposes. Ivri said that the strike on the Saudi oil installations by a cruise missile could have been prevented by F-15 aircraft.
Full disclosure: The Globes Defense Industry Conference was held in cooperation with and under the sponsorship of the Herzog, Fox & Ne'eman law firm, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael, and Elbit Systems.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 19, 2019
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