The United States government has recently approved Israel’s request to purchase F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. The first 25 will be Conventional Take-Off and Landing jets, with the option to purchase 50 Short-Take-Off and Vertical-Landing jets at a later date. In total, the 75 planes will probably cost Israel around $5 billion. The First 25 would serve to update the Israeli Air Force’s array of jets and fighter planes. These would be essential in any future conflicts, as the Iranian threat is ever increasing, with Iran being only 2-5 years away from having a nuclear bomb, according to well-informed sources, Syria has allegedly restarted its nuclear program, and future conflicts with neighbors, such as Hizbollah in Lebanon, would undoubtedly require the use of superior jet technology.
The new jets, however, would be the “really cool” and useful addition to the Israeli military tool belt. The jet, designed by Lockheed Martin can take-off and land at very short distances, and even vertically, fly at super-sonic speeds, and shoot down a target even before its presence is detected. This technology, which at present, is only available to the 8 nations involved in the planning of the jet, would keep Israel technologically superior to her neighbors. The approval of this sale shows the United States’ acknowledgment that maintaining a strong Israel is in American strategic interests. However, fearing that the United States will, also, agree to sell the jets to Saudi Arabia, as it has done in the past, Israel is now requesting permission to use its own technology in the F-35s which it will purchase so as to ensure its superiority should others in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, be granted access to the jet and its technology.
So now the question is – what does this really mean? Sure, Israel will have a super cool plane, but is that really something interesting? Well, my friends, the answer is yes. First of all, the plane was developed in a partnership of 8 nations. 8 nations! That means that the U.S. and 7 other nations managed to get together and actually agree on something. True, it was war-related, but still, that’s rather impressive. Also, the approval of the sale shows that Israel is still an ally of the U.S. In Israel, people tend to love the U.S., but they are not always so sure that the U.S. loves her. After all, the United States has been known to not give Israel the metaphorical “green light” in going to war, and is still buddy buddy with nations which call for Israel’s destruction. While it may be good for United States foreign policy, it isn’t exactly pro-Israel. So to get access to a system which would definitely increase Israel’s ability to defend herself (not that I am advocating a policy of excessive reliance on the Air Force, something which caused quite a deal of “fuck-ups” in the last Lebanon war – but don’t tell my pilot friends that!) is something that must be considered as a good thing, and way cool. 😉