^Yes, outdated info indeed I'm afraid.
kelesis wrote:The question of JSF has already been explored by the IAF and the answer is no!
But there's been no effort to explain why this is so, or to get a better deal:
“We have already entered into a partnership with Russia in developing our own fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA)
,” Defence Minister A K Antony said.
An official spokesperson from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), said that, "We have progressed a lot in the MMRCA programme, we have crossed a lot of stages that have become part of history and there is no turning back.
These are not criticisms of the F-35 per se. I did however find one good reason to not enter the JSF program in the early stages: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/israel-plans-to-buy-over-100-f35s-02381/
Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, is trying to ramp up orders for the F-35 quickly, even though the aircraft are now expected to remain in testing until 2015. A large order book would allow the firm to offer early buyers much lower prices for each plane, using dollar averaging over a substantial initial batch, instead of charging $150 – $170 million for early production aircraft and $100 million or so for the same plane 3 years later.
That dynamic is standard for military aircraft of all types, but the F-35 is about 5-7 years late versus its market ideal market window. Potential customers with air fleets that are reaching their expiry dates are reluctant to pay those early production costs, and if enough of them defect, the F-35 program as a whole could find itself in trouble. Hence the F-35 program’s interest in a substantial early order from Israel.
So if we enter too early, it seems we would effectively subsidize the purchases of early buyers! Unless of course, we are offered a 'special price' by Madame Hillary (yes, further info needed). Would this also be the reason why some customers might want to cut orders now and avoid paying those early production costs, but then place them again later when they can avail the lower price? If so, they might pretend to be concerned about the aircraft itself to justify backing out!
Also from the same article:
Access to the F-35’s software source code remains a live issue for the Israelis, as it has been with the Australians, British, and others. That access is necessary for countries that want to upgrade the aircraft’s computers, and/or integrate new weapons, communications, or electronic warfare systems. Israeli planes generally undergo heavy modifications to incorporate Israeli electronics and weapons systems, and the US has allowed the Israelis access to the F-15 and F-16’s software. In June 2006, Snir said that he is confident the F-35A’s computers will not be an issue. He reiterated that there was:
”...no dispute with the US that IAF F-35s would include Israeli communications and electronic warfare technologies and missiles developed by Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd.”
Israel will certainly seek to ensure that items like its communications systems, LITENING surveillance and targeting pod technology, ECM and defensive electronics, Python short-range missiles, and other weapons will be part of its initial F-35A buy – or at the very least, slotted into the overall program’s formal integration plans by a reasonable date.
Those possibilities are now in question, and will not be an option for its initial buy.
In Israel's case, it seems the US has offered to integrate their stuff before handing over delivery, presumably in order not to part with source codes. Bummer. We should still ask for them though, never know what they'd agree to when they're eager to make a sale!