Skip to comments.Time For Israel To Walk Away From US Aid [F-35]
Posted on 08/01/2016 4:31:50 AM PDT by SJackson
...And better serve the country's security interests in the process.
Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.
On Monday, acting head of the National Security Council Yaakov Nagel will sit down with his US counterpart, Susan Rice, and try to conclude negotiations about a new, multi-year defense assistance package.
We must all hope that he fails.
. No clear Israeli interest will be advanced by concluding the aid deal presently on the table.
Indeed, the deal now being discussed will cause Israel massive, long-term economic and strategic damage. This is true for a number of reasons.
First, there is the issue of the deals impact on Israels military industries, which are the backbone of Israels strategic independence.
Under the current defense package, which is set to expire next year, a quarter of the US aid Israel receives is converted to shekels and spent domestically.
Reportedly, the deal now under negotiation will bar Israel from using any of the funds domestically.
The implications for our military industries are dire. Not only will thousands of Israelis lose their jobs. Israels capacity to develop its own weapons systems will be dangerously diminished.
Then there is the problem of joint projects.
Today, Israel receives additional US funds to develop joint projects, including the Iron Dome and Davids Sling short range missile and rocket defense programs. These programs were undertaken in response to threats that werent foreseen when the current deal was negotiated a decade ago.
According to reports, the deal now being negotiated denies Israel and the US the ability to fund jointly new projects or to provide supplemental funding for existing projects. All funding for all projects will be covered by the lump sum that is currently being negotiated.
Not only does this preclude new projects, it prevents Congress from exercising oversight over administration funding of existing joint projects with Israel. President Barack Obama has consistently tried to slash funding of missile defense programs, only to be overridden by Congress. Under the deal now on the table, Congress will be denied the power to override a hostile administration.
Given the obvious problems with the aid program currently being proposed by the Obama administration, theres little wonder that until now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly stated that if necessary, Israel is ready to wait for the next administration. Some argue that Netanyahus apparent newfound interest in concluding negotiations on Obamas terms owes to his fear that this is the best offer Israel is likely to get. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for various reasons, it is argued, will be less likely to offer significant increases in US military assistance.
Assuming this is accurate, the question becomes whether Israel has an interest in the assistance at all.
And so we come to the F-35.
For Israel, to a significant degree, the aid package on offer is about the F-35, the USs fifth generation fighter, otherwise known as the Joint Strike Fighter.
Last month Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IAF Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen Tal Kelman flew to Texas to ceremonially take possession of Israels first two F-35s. Both aircraft are set to be delivered to Israel in December.
To date, the IAF has purchased 33 F-35s all with US aid money. The IAF wants to purchase a total of 75 F-35s, which are supposed to replace the F-16s and the F-15s that the IAF currently fields.
As Liberman made clear during his visit, whether Israel purchases them or not is entirely dependent on the aid deal.
We should not take them. We should walk away.
And we should walk away even if we receive nothing in exchange for the planes we reject.
The F-35 is a disaster of epic proportions, for the US first and foremost. If Israel agrees to base its next generation fighters on the F-35, it will be a disaster for us as well. Although it is late in the game, we need to cut our losses.
To date, the F-35 has cost the US $400 billion.
That is twice what it was supposed to cost. The project is already four years behind schedule and still in development. It wont be operational until May 2018 at the earliest.
The F-35 is a jet that was developed by a committee and tasked with doing everything. So it isnt surprising that it doesnt work. In February, J. Michael Gilmore, the director of the Pentagons Operational Test and Evaluation office, submitted a scathing report to Congress on the F-35 program.
It is worth going through just a few of his findings.
The F-35s calling card is its stealth capacity.
According to the engineers at Lockheed Martin, the JSF is supposed to be all-but-invisible to radar systems. Its stealth system is supposed to be far superior to the stealth capabilities of its third generation predecessors.
But at present, its stealth systems do not work, and it is unclear whether they will ever work as planned.
First there is the problem with the JSFs cooling systems. The JSF is too hot. To prevent its single engine from melting down in flight, pilots are forced to open its weapons bays at high speeds and altitudes every 10 minutes. When the weapons bays are open, the stealth systems do not work.
Then there is the software. The F-35 is considered one big flying computer. It uses over 20 million lines of computer code. These codes are supposed to make it the most maneuverable and stealthy aircraft in history. The problem is that the codes are defective. The software programs that enable the plane to fly, maneuver, and engage in combat are all defective. So are the software programs that control the planes stealth capabilities.
And fixing them is not a simple process.
The fixed software systems cant simply be attached to existing hardware or to existing planes. The planes themselves have to be rebuilt to adjust to the new software. So the models that have already been produced, including the two F-35s that are set for delivery in December, will all have to be rebuilt before they will be combat ready.
And as a panel of US defense and aviation experts that convened in late February following the publication of Gilmores report noted, that too will take time and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Another major problem is that the F-35s nerve center is dysfunctional and there is no clear path to fixing it. The F-35 is controlled by the Autonomic Logistics Information System. The ALIS is a central computer system, located in the US.
All F-35s all over the world will be required to log into the ALIS system to upload computer files after each flight and to check flight readiness. The ALIS is supposed to identify broken parts and help speed up repairs and handle mission data uploads.
ALIS has the capacity to prevent F-35s from taking off. ALIS can lock out pilots and ground crews if it sees danger. If this happens, maintenance technicians have to convince the computer that they either dealt with the issues the computer identified or that it was a false alarm.
Dan Grazier, a member of that panel, whose deliberations were reported by This Week, warned that this power renders the entire F-35 fleet vulnerable to hackers. If someone were able to convince the computer that something was wrong across the fleet, they might be able to keep all the F-35s grounded. Although the damage wouldnt be permanent, it could continue long enough to cause the US or an ally to lose a battle or fail a mission.
For Israel, this vulnerability is prohibitive even if ALIS is ever made to work. The significance of ALIS control over all F-35s worldwide is that the US and anyone able to hack the US system will control the IAF. It will operate at the pleasure of the US government, and those able to hack US computers. They will be able to ground IAF planes whenever they wish.
This critical problem was acknowledged obliquely by Lt.-Col. Yotam, the commander of Israels first F-35 or Adir squadron, in an interview with Israel Defense in April.
Lt.-Col. Yotam said, The maintenance concept of the Adir is based on international management and logistics in terms of spare parts and maintenance echelons.
Israeli experts note that although in theory Israel will be able to crack the ALIS code and override it, it will take years to develop such a capacity. In the meantime, the IAF will become a contract employee of the US government whose operation is subject to US approval on a flight by flight basis.
The US Air Force, Marines and Navy are all trying to figure out how to deal with the deficiencies of the F-35. There is a vague hope that the US will develop a different fifth generation fighter.
More F-18s and A-10s will likely be ordered. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told Fighting Global that he foresees using the current batch of F-15s into the 2040s. In other words, the US Air Force will deploy 70-year-old planes alongside the defective F-35s.
This, of course, is a disaster for the US. And if Israel goes ahead with the F-35 project it will be an even bigger disaster for us.
Back when the Pentagon convinced the Shamir government to scrap the Lavi project and purchase the F-16, the argument that won the day was economic. The Lavi was simply too expensive.
Today, both economics and strategic arguments indicate that the opposite is the case, even if walking away involves ending US military aid.
If Israel cuts its losses and begins to develop a fifth generation jet fighter that meets its own specific needs, rather than one designed by a committee to meet other countries needs poorly, it will end up both far safer and far more prosperous than if it goes ahead with the F-35 project. It will produce a better plane, better suited for Israeli defense needs, and simultaneously stimulate the growth of Israeli military industries, providing jobs for thousands of Israelis.
If Israel walks away from the military assistance package currently under discussion, it will be in a position to sign joint development deals with the US and other governments on a project by project basis and so ensure that we develop the weapons systems we need, not the ones the US thinks we should have, as we need them. Just as India is investing billions of dollars in joint projects with Israel, so will the US in the future.
It is far from clear that the US can afford its $400b. white elephant. It is abundantly clear that Israel cannot afford it.
Whether or not a Trump or Clinton administration will be more forthcoming is really beside the point. The point is that the US aid deal is really a deal for Lockheed Martin, not for Israel. And we need to say no.
If you'd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
This aid is a sword that cuts both ways. It makes Israel stronger, but at the expense of developing its own capabilities. It also ties Israel to US interests so they can’t make their own deals in the world. While it has been good for the United States to prevent countries we don’t want to have capable equipment it prevents Israel from growing their markets and making essential political trade-offs.
I believe the F-35 will be among the most expensive debacles in military procurement history. I was unaware of the central computer control which is absurd. Nothing says there won’t be another Iranian puppet sitting in the White House when Israel needs to defend itself in a life or death struggle.
If this information is accurate, no independent country in its right mind should ever by the F-35. This sounds like a globalist dream and would reduce participating countries to subordinate functionaries of the US government.
Further, the US is basing carrier group protection
on the F-35 which has range unable to takeout
Val’s and Obama’s Iranian fired, Chinese built,
Obama has made US military transport vulnerable,
flammable, and controllable by the Enemy
who happen to be his Moslem Brotherhood.
For those who might not know, Israeli politicians like Naftali Bennett and even Moshe Arens believe American aid does more harm than good. The Israeli Right generally wants to get away from American military aid while the mainstream Israeli Left of course loves having other people’s money.
Israel needs a next gen fighter and they are right it is not the F-35. I believe adding the Vtol capability to it practically guaranteed failure for that bird.
The big if. Here's a Link to a Norwegian Air Force pilot who has an entirely different opinion.
Turning down the aid package would be cutting of Israel's nose to spite its face.
The F35 is three(3) different aircraft variants.
The Air Force has the F35A model,The Marines are going with the Model,The Navy is going with the C model adapted with folding wings and a stronger undercarriage to withstand landings on the carriers.
All Aircraft suffer development issues and that is true of this series of aircraft.Only time will tell whether it was money well spent.
Do they have the warthog?
No, they don’t.
It is important to remember that the withholding of critical spare parts for the F16 while allowing Saudi to reposition its F15’s closer was the primary method used to blackmail Israel into giving up Gaza for “peace”.
The move to F35 dependency is in effect the surrender of sovereignty to the whims of American politics.
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