Israeli companies last year had over $500 million in sales to US F-35 stealth fighter developer and manufacturer Lockheed Martin, according to periodic data compiled by the Ministry of Defense Directorate of Production and Procurement and obtained by "Globes."
According to these figures, Lockheed Martin's procurement from industrial companies in Israel has totaled $1.75 billion since the first stealth fighter deal was signed in 2010. The Ministry of Defense expects this figure to exceed $2 billion by the end of this year. With the help of professional staff in the Ministry of Defense, the extent of the existing contracts with Lockheed Martin is set to expand, and new contracts related to the F-35 aircraft plan are slated for signing. "We hope to exceed the $2 billion mark in the coming year in this matter," Directorate of Production and Procurement director Avi Dadon said.
The figures also show that since the beginning of 2019, Lockheed Martin's commercial contracts with Israeli companies relating to the aircraft have been expanded by $200 million, constituting a 44% rise in procurement from Israel since the middle of last year.
The bulk of Lockheed Martin's procurement in Israel since 2010 consists of a $1.2 billion contract for production of helmets used by F-35 pilots made by a company jointly owned by US company Collins Aerospace and Elbit Systems and a $344 contract with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the production of wings for the airplane. IAI will supply more than 800 pairs of wings for the stealth fighter. 50 pairs of wings have been manufactured to date.
Other Israeli industries are also involved in the F-35 plan, including Elbit Systems subsidiary Cyclone, Tadiran Communications, SimiGon, Cabiran Investment Casting Solutions, and Gilboa. The Ministry of Defense's figures show that these companies' production contracts with Lockheed Martin were expanded by tens of millions of shekels last year.
To date, the Israeli air force has received 16 of the 50 F-35s ordered in the US in three separate deals in 2010 at a total estimated cost of $5 billion. Two more planes will be supplied in November and an additional two by the end of the year, giving the Israeli air force a total of 20 F-35s.
30 more planes are slated for delivery to Israel by 2024 at a rate of six per year. The current price of an F-35 is $87 million.
Israel will have to decide in the coming months whether to procure a third squadron of F-35s or a squadron of Boeing's new F-15s.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 8, 2019
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