has signed a contract to buy 14 additional Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft, IHS Janes reported. The new contract also includes an option for the procurement of an additional 17 additional aircraft. "We are honored that Israel has decided to procure additional F-35A aircraft," said Lockheed Martin spokesman Mark Johnson. The deal follows Israel’s initial purchase of 19 F-35s in 2010, which was formally approved by an Israeli cabinet committee on Nov. 21, 2014. "Israel joins several other nations purchasing additional F-35s over the past two years and we will deliver the IAF's (Israeli Air Force's) first F-35A aircraft in 2016," Johnson added.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) delivered the first replacement wing for the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 trainer supersonic jet on February 11, The Jerusalem Post reported. The wing was delivered to Lt. Col. Allen Garrison, a representative from the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), in a ceremony at IAI’s Lahav Division Plant in Israel. First
developed in the 1950s by the Northrop Grumman Corporation, the T-38 plane has been in the service of the U.S. Air Force for decades and will remain in service until 2026. IAI, tasked with manufacturing the plane’s replacement wings, has been working with the assistance of the DCMA to upgrade and adjust the T-38 platform. At the ceremony, IAI President and CEO Joseph Weiss said that he is “proud to support the United States Air Force.”
During a Feb. 4 exercise, Israeli paratroopers made their first jump from Lockheed Martin’s C-130J tactical transport aircraft, Flight Global reported. The Israeli version of the plane, dubbed “Samson,” is being integrated into Israel’s depth command capabilities. The parachute training involved 30 cadets from the Flight and Special Training Center (FSTC) and took place near the Palmachim air base in Israel. Brig. Gen. Lihu praised the training exercise, stating, "The ability to parachute troops is crucial to the C-130J. This training marks an important milestone in the process of preparing the plane for operational missions.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been recruiting high-functioning autistic volunteers to join the Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 9900 and interpret aerial photography, The Times of Israel reported. The army utilizes five military satellites orbiting the planet that deliver three-dimensional images to Tel Aviv in real time. Through long hours of concentration and constant attention to detail, Unit 9900 deciphers the images. The
unit selects students with high visual perception and spatial intelligence for interpreting satellite images. Faced with a manpower problem, Unit 9900 began in 2012 to recruit volunteers diagnosed with autism. A research study funded by the Israeli Defense Ministry found that people on the autistic spectrum often have a different visual perception, tending to approach complex visual images objectively. Lt. Batchen, who commands the program, praised the program graduates and described them as “among the very best decipherers I have ever seen.”