Reuters news service is reporting the that the U.S. government and Israel have reached an agreement for including Israeli made electronic warfare equipment on the F-35s that nation will buy.
The U.S. has kept a tight leash on integrating systems into the F-35 not developed by partner suppliers and countries but agreed to allow added Israeli participation if it paid the bill for the added development costs.
The deal will allow increased participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program by Israeli companies, including Elbit Systems Ltd and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, which will start building wings for the radar-evading warplane.
IAI already builds wings for the F-16 fighter jet, the world's most widely used fighter, also built by Lockheed. Elbit, in a joint venture with Rockwell Collins, makes the advanced helmet used by pilots on the single-seat F-35.
Agreement on development of the new Israeli version of the F-35 will allow Israel to install its own radio and datalink systems, as well as other equipment, on the jets it is buying.
But the deal also covers enhancements to the airplane's electronic warfare capabilities that will benefit the United States, Israel and the other nine countries that either have already ordered fighter planes, or plan to in coming years.