Massive bombs like the MOP are part of the U.S.’s initiative to decrease dependence on nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
MOP dropped from a B-52 Stratofortress
MOP mockup in B-2 Weapon Load Trainer
By Gil Ronen
The United States may supply Israel with advanced Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bunker-buster bombs that can penetrate through up to 60 feet (almost 20 meters) of reinforced concrete, reports MaarivTuesday.
This is part of a deal being worked out between the countries, which also includes the supply of refueling jets.
This equipment will make the job of demolishing Iran‘s nuclear weapon production array more feasible for Israel, should it decide to do so.
In exchange for the weapons, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will agree to hold off on an independent attack until after the U.S. elections. President Barack Obama fears that a war could negatively affect his chances of being reelected. Israel, on the other hand, fears that Obama’s re-election could create diplomatic and military conditions that allow Iran to acquire the weapon it needs for killing millions of Israelis.
Obama may soon publicly describe the “red lines” which, if crossed by Iran, would trigger a U.S. military response. Maariv speculates this could happen when he gives a speech at the UN on Yom Kippur eve, or even in his speech at the DemocraticNational Convention.
These steps may mollify Netanyahu, and could be the reason for his apparently less forceful statements on Iran in the past two days.
The Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) GBU-57A/B is a U.S. Air Force precision-guided, 13,000-kg (30,000-pound) bomb, and the most destructive bunker-buster yet.According to a Wired.com piece last week, the USAF has announced it has finally completed building that bomb: “It’s an absolutely ginormous bomb designed to convince rogue regimes that there is no redoubt for the manufacture of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons buried deep enough to escape the U.S. Air Force.”
“The military has been at work super-sizing its bunker-busters for years,” writes Wired, “and the Massive Ordnance Penetrator is the premier upgraded weapon. Supposedly, it can penetrate 60 feet of reinforced concrete, although it depends just how hard that concrete is. Although the Pentagon has spent over $200 million developing 30 of the bombs, there are doubts over how well-equipped it is to destroy the hardened facilities believed to house Iran’s nuclear program.”
Published on Aug 18, 2012 by Truthmediaproduction
People around the world are noticing that our planet’s weather is dramatically changing. They are also beginning to notice the long lingering trails left behind airplanes that have lead millions to accept the reality of chemtrail/geoengineering programs. Could there be a connection between the trails and our severe weather? While there are many agendas associated with these damaging programs, evidence is now abundant which proves that geoengineering can be used to control weather. In this documentary you will learn how the aerosols being sprayed into our sky are used in conjunction with other technologies to control our weather. While geoengineers maintain that their models are only for the mitigation of global warming, it is now clear that they can be used as a way to consolidate an enormous amount of both monetary and political power into the hands of a few by the leverage that weather control gives certain corporations over the Earth’s natural systems. This of course, is being done at the expense of every living thing on the planet.
Today’s unmanned robotic planes only seemadvanced. A decade after the CIA and the Air Force tucked a Hellfire missile under the wing of aPredator drone, much hasn’t actually changed: pilots in air-conditioned boxes remotely control much of the armed drone fleet; the robo-planes are easy for an enemy to spot; the weapons they fire weigh about the same; as much as they love the skies, they take refuge on dry land; and they’re built around traditional airframes like planes and helicopters. Yawn.
All this is starting to change. Drones are moving out to sea — above it and below it. They’re growing increasingly autonomous, no longer reliant on a pilot with a joystick staring at video feeds from theircameras. They’re getting stealthier; the payloads they carry are changing; and they’re going global. They’re pushing humans out of the gondolas of blimps. And the laboratories of the drones of the future aren’t only owned by American defense contractors, they’re in Israel and China and elsewhere, too.
Of course, there are other advancements as well: new model drones fly longer and wield better cameras. But those are routine improvements, like your smartphone rolling out upgrades to its operating system. Here’s a look at the more ambitious ways drones are getting re-imagined.
The U.S. Navy is at the forefront of drone development. Its most ambitious project is to land a robotic plane on an aircraft carrier with minimal human involvement. It’s among aviation’s hardest maneuvers, one that no current drone on Planet Earth can execute. Next year, the Navy will program its X-47B — a batwing-shaped robot — to land on the deck of the U.S.S. George Washington off the coast of Maryland to see if it can be done. All with a click of a mouse.
If the X-47B can pull this off, it’ll be a sea change (pardon the pun). The X-47B is a demonstration model, not the Navy’s carrier-based drone of the future. By 2018, the Navy hopes, a successful X-47B will yield to the UCLASS program, for Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System. The name is actually pretty descriptive: If it works as planned — again, a big if — the Navy will have robotic eyes in the sky way out into blue waters, capable of spying on suspicious maritime behavior and attacking targets they spot. The effort ranks as one of the most significant in the history of drones.
Photo: Jared Soares/Wired.com
Aero Vironment’s Switchblade
For all the upgrades drones are set to receive, U.S. military officials swear there’s one unyielding constant: A human being, inside a chain of command, will always make the decision to use a drone’s lethal force. The Switchblade doesn’t exactly violate that rule. But it pushes drone warfare closer to the boundary.
Already heading to Afghanistan for commando usage, the tiny Switchblade folds up into a backpack; gets fired through a tube; and a soldier using a laptop sends it on a one-way mission onto a target. Count the innovations there: Most tiny drones are spies instead of killers; and the Switchblade doesn’t fire a missile, itis the missile. But there’s a third, and more profound, change. The drone can be pre-programmed to hit a set of coordinates, making it an “autonomous platform” that manufacturer AeroVironment likes to boast about. True, a human being still sets those coordinates. But the small Switchblade moves drone warfare a step closer to an era when the robots decide who lives and who dies.
Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle
Another example of how the drones of the future won’t necessarily be airplanes or helicopters. The U.S. Army is working on a spy blimp the size of a football field. Pilot not necessarily included.
Much of the hype around Northrop Grumman’s Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, or LEMV, concerns the novelty of a giant blimp capable of hauling a heretofore unimaginable bank of cameras in its gondola. Less attention has gone to the mega-blimp’s intended ability to flip into autonomous mode. Which makes sense, when considering the airship’s other capabilities: If it works correctly, it should be able to stay aloft for weeks at a time. Does it really make sense to keep a human being in the lighter-than-air ship, complete with all the physiological frailties that would necessitate dropping the blimp down onto the ground? The Army is starting to consider those questions: Earlier this month, it brought the blimp over New Jersey for its first test flight; and next year it’s supposed to deploy to Afghanistan.
Image: Northrop Grumman
Raytheon’s Small Tactical Munition
Yes, it’s true: The Small Tactical Munition is not a drone. But it still has important implications for drone warfare.
The weapon of choice for the U.S. drone arsenal is the Hellfire missile. The Hellfires, unleashed on countless terrorism suspects over the last decade, weigh about 100 pounds. That’s a problem: It cuts against the trend of miniaturization that is all the rage in drone circles. Enter the Small Tactical Munition: a bomb weighing just 13 pounds designed to turn the Army’s 12-pound Shadow spy drone into a killer. Raytheon has been developing the Small Tactical Munition for years, but now thinks the bomb could beready to field within months. Not much good for a drone that’s supposed to, say, look like a hummingbird. But it’s probably just the first in mini-weapons for drones.
Israel Aerospace Industries’ Robo-Butterfly
It makes sense that Israel would be on the bleeding edge of drone technology. Not only are its spy apparatus and tech sectors among the world’s elite, Israel has a long, long history with unmanned aircraft. The Israel Defense Forces’ first drone unit formed in 1971, to aid with reconnaissance. Now it’s joining theU.S. military in developing tiny, tiny drones that look like bugs — with one huge difference.
In May, Israel Hayom reported on the Butterfly, a robot weighing a mere 20 grams and designed to look like the eponymous insect, except packed with listening devices and tiny video cameras. Not altogether dissimilar from the U.S. Air Force‘s “micro-aviary” of insect- and bird-like unmanned aircraft. But Israel Aerospace Industries’ mini-drone adds something unexpected: a helmet that gives an operator Butterfly vision. “When you put this on you are actually inside the butterfly’s cockpit,” enthused the company’s mini-robotics chief Dubi Binyamini. “You see what the butterfly sees. You can fly at any altitude and distance and see everything in real time.” In the States, drone operators merely watch their robotic aircraft’s video feed, with no attempt at anything approaching a sensory meld.
If you had to guess what this Chinese drone’s specialty is — and you do, because China’s government has cloaked it in secrecy — it’s probably stealth. The elongated, sharp angles of the Dark Sword are reminiscent of a stretched-out mashup of a Stealth Bomber and a Joint Strike Fighter. Designs for Dark Sword have been floating around for years, and Flight International has dubbed it an “amalgam of concepts” — to include, potentially, being a rare unmanned dogfighter.
China isn’t new to drones. It’s got the the Soaring Dragon, a surveillance drone that looks eerily reminiscent of a U.S. Air Force Global Hawk. But a stealthy drone is a next step up for China’s unmanned capabilities. The Dark Sword may not be the only Chinese stealth drone, either. Late in 2011, pictures of the so-called Wind Blade — a stealthy, blended-wing design drone — started surfacing on the internet.
Photo: Pakistan Defence Forum
Boeing’s Phantom Ray
This Boeing stealth drone has survived a near-death experience. Like its rival the X-47B, it’s a demonstrator craft; and like the X-47B, its batwing shape indicates that it’s designed to evade radar. Unlike the X-47B, however, the U.S. military got cold feet: In 2006, it told Boeing that it wasn’t interested in paying for the project anymore. Rather than junk Phantom Ray, Boeing opted to fund the project itself, and last April, the Phantom Ray took off on its maiden flight in St. Louis. And since the Navy hasn’t picked a design for the UCLASS project that comes after the X-47B, it’s possible that the Phantom Ray will eventually overtake its robotic adversary.
General Atomics’ Sea Avenger
Take one part Predator and one part UCLASS and you’ve got the Sea Avenger. In short, the project is a next-gen Predator that can land on an aircraft carrier. Or so manufacturer General Atomics desires.
The Avenger is the third phase of the iconic armed Predator drone, following the Reaper. In 2010, the Air Force had reached the end of its intended purchases of Preds and moved toward buying Avengers. And for good reason: Avengers are way, way faster, capable of going beyond 400 knots, making it three times as fast as a Pred and 50 percent faster than a Reaper. The sleeker design also turns the drone stealthy.
So General Atomics tweaked its Avenger design to yield the Sea Avenger. (Hold your Sub-Mariner jokes.) The idea is to add the “flexibility” to accommodate “carrier suitable landing gear, tail hook, drag devices, and other provisions for carrier operations.” Translated from the contractor-ese, that means General Atomics is hoping that when X-47B gives way to UCLASS, the Navy will go with the iconic brand in the killer-drone field.
Image: General Atomics
BAE Systems’ Taranis
Stealth drones aren’t only for the Americans and the Chinese. BAE Systems is working on Europe’s first stealth robo-killer, the Taranis. Only the drone hasn’t had a smooth upward ascent.
Named for the Celtic thunder god, BAE first rolled out the Taranis in 2010, complete with a Hollywood-style presentation. Yet trial flights, originally scheduled for last year, have been pushed back repeatedly, and now the hope is to get the Taranis aloft in 2013. There isn’t yet much to show for the £143 million — around $220 million — spent developing the prototype, aside from the occasional mistaken UFO sighting. But if European budgetary austerity doesn’t ground the Taranis before it leaves the tarmac, the Taranis’ ability to evade radar could help wean allied militaries off their dependency on American airpower.
Photo: BAE Systems
Russia isn’t so great with drones. Sure, it’s buying spy robots from Israel, but its own fleet of homebrewed armed drones won’t be ready for another 20 years. That leaves the Russian government with smaller drones — the better to spy on street protests — and not a whole lot besides. Except for the Skat.
Translating to “Manta Ray,” the Skat is a stealthy drone that can carry up to two tons of weapons in its bays, and fly at nearly 500 miles per hour at a low altitude. Mockups and displays of the Skat have been on display for at least five years, but the drone remains in development. It might not take 20 years to field, but it highlights how far the once-mighty Russians have to go to capitalize on the drone revolution.
DRDO Rustom 1
Rising global power India doesn’t intend to get left out of the drone revolution. After buying Israeli models for years, its Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is starting to homebrew its own. Three different models of killer flying ‘bots are in the works: the Rustom 1, the Rustom H and the Rustom 2. (The Rustom 1 had its maiden flight in 2009; the other two are still being developed.) These drones clearly don’t have the capabilities of the American next-gens — they’re slower, not autonomous, and won’t be stealthy. And they wear their influences on their sleeves: The most ambitious model, the Rustom H, seems like a knock-off of the iconic Predator. Still, the arrival of India’s drone sector helps underscore how drone tech has cemented itself as a status symbol for rising powers.
No matter how deeply disturbing the thought of using the environment to manipulate behavior for national advantage is to some, the technology permitting such use will very probably develop within the next few decades. - Dr. Gordon J.F. MacDonald 1968
In order to increase functionality and effectiveness, ionospheric heaters are used in combination.
The HAARP website explains the differences between HAARP and other ionospheric heaters like this, “HAARP is unique to most existing facilities due to the combination of a research tool which provides electronic beam steering, wide frequency coverage and high effective radiated power collocated with a diverse suite of scientific observational instruments.” HAARP can be remotely operated. HAARP employs technology originally envisioned and demonstrated by American inventor Nikola Tesla.
HAARP is jointly managed by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in conjunction with the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Here’s more from the HAARP website:
Technical expertise and procurement services as required for the management, administration and evaluation of the program are being provided cooperatively by the Air Force (Air Force Research Laboratory), the Navy (Office of Naval Research and Naval Research Laboratory), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Since the HAARP facility consists of many individual items of scientific equipment, both large and small, there is a considerable list ofcommercial, academic and government organizations which are contributing to the building of the facility by developing scientific diagnostic instrumentation and by providing guidance in the specification, design and development of the IRI [HAARP]. BAE Advanced Technologies (BAEAT) is the prime contractor for the design and construction of the IRI. Other organizations which have contributed to the program include the University of Alaska, Stanford University, Cornell University, University of Massachusetts, UCLA, MIT, Dartmouth University, ClemsonUniversity, Penn State University, University of Tulsa, University of Maryland, SRI International, Northwest Research Associates, Inc., and Geospace, Inc.
As far back as 1958, the chief White House advisor on weather modification, Captain Howard T. Orville, said the U.S. defense department was studying “ways to manipulate the charges of the earth and sky and so affect the weather” by using an electronic beam to ionize or de-ionize the atmosphere over a given area.The seminal 1996 Air Force report ‘Owning the Weather 2025′ outlines a weather modification program utilizing ground based support such as HAARP.Let us reference a passage from Nick Begich and Jeane Manning’s book Angels Don’t Play this HAARP:
Eastlund’s enthusiasm for planetary-scale engineering came through just as clearly in an interviewwith Omni Magazine. While acknowledging that many of the uses of his invention are warlike, he also talked about ‘more benign’ uses. His view of benign included using the technology to reroute the high-altitude jet stream, which is a major player in shaping global weather. Another way to control the weather with his technology would be to build ‘plumes of atmospheric particles to act as a lens or focusing device’ for sunlight, he told Omni. With this, the people controlling the antennae could aim in such a way that the return beams would hit a certain part of the earth. With the heating ability, they could experiment until they could control wind patterns in a specific place.
The Omni article explained. ‘What this means, he says, is that by controlling local weather patterns one could, say, bring rain to Ethiopia or alter the summer storm pattern in the Caribbean.’
United States patent #4,686,605 ‘Method and Apparatus for Altering a Region in the Earth’s Atmosphere, Ionosphere and/or Magnetosphere’ is one of the 12 HAARP patents. Dr. Eastlund is credited as the inventor. It states, “Weather modification is possible by, for example, altering upper atmosphere wind patterns or altering solar absorption patterns by constructing one or more plumes of atmospheric particles which will act as a lens or focusing device.”
I know that quote on the surface looks like a connection between HAARP and chemtrails, but, before we think we have the smoking gun, realize that they are probably talking about particles precipitated from the ionosphere forming a lens without the need of chemtrails; as outlined elsewhere in the patent. The good news is, the patent goes on:
Also as alluded to earlier, molecular modifications of the atmosphere can take place so that positive environmental effects can be achieved. Besides actually changing the molecular composition of an atmospheric region, a particular molecule or molecules can be chosen for increased presence. For example, ozone, nitrogen, etc. concentrations in the atmosphere could be artificially increased. Similarly, environmental enhancement could be achieved by causing the breakup of various chemical entities such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and the like. Transportation of entities can also be realized when advantage is taken of the drag effects caused by regions of the atmosphere moving up along diverging field lines. Small micron sized particles can be then transported, and, under certain circumstances and with the availability of sufficient energy, larger particles or objects could be similarly affected.
That, my friends is a smoking gun. They are talking about introducing small particles into the atmosphere and then using HAARP to move them and the matter around them for the purpose of weather modification.
HAARP can be used in conjunction with chemtrails in order to modify the weather. Disbursed metallic particles such as aluminum, barium and strontium (the main chemtrail ingredients) may increase the atmosphere’s conductivity and therefore enhance HAARP’s weather modification performance.
A grand history of releasing stuff into the atmosphere as part of scientific research exists.
In the early 1960s our U.S. military dumped 350,000 2-4cm copper needles into the ionosphere attempting to create a ‘telecommunications shield.’
The HAARP executive summary says:
DOD [Department of Defense] agencies already have on-going efforts in the broad area of active ionospheric experiments, including ionospheric enhancements. These include both space and ground based approaches. The space-based efforts include chemical releases (e.g., the Air Force’s Brazilian Ionospheric Modification Experiment, BIME; the Navy’s RED AIR program; and multi-agency participation in the Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite, CERES).
…there is a super-powerful electrical connection between the ionosphere and the part of the atmosphere where our weather comes onstage, the lower atmosphere. Furthermore, scientific theories describe how the electrical energetic levels of the atmosphere are connected to cloud processes.
This ‘Star Wars‘ technology developed by ARCO Power Technologies, Incorporated [patent #5,068,669's assignee] was used in a microwaved-powered aircraft. The aircraft was reported to be able to stay aloft for up to 10,000 hours at 80,000 foot altitudes in a single mission. This craft was envisioned as a surveillance platform. The craft had no need for refueling because the energy was beamed to it and then converted to electrical energy for use by the aircraft. Flight tests were undertaken at Tyendinga Airport near Kingston, Ontario, Canada in the early 1990′s. This test by APTI most likely involved this patent…
If HAARP is powering the chemtrail airplanes, this would be a great logistical advantage as the planes would not need to be grounded for fueling. The airplanes would probably only need to be grounded for payload and maintenance and therefore could remain in the sky, performing their functions without interruption for long periods of time. This would also be an advantage because the more time these planes spend in the air, the less chance there is of the program being exposed. It’s incredibly difficult (as this author has learned) to expose something going on at 40,000 ft. in the sky. The power beaming need not be constant as the airplanes could utilize capacitors.
It is reported that smaller, mobile versions of HAARP exist.
Let us refer again to Angels Don’t Play this HAARP:
Is it possible that the HAARP scientists could have miniaturized the technology so that they don’t need such a large area of land and electrical power as called for in Eastlund’s pattents? Manning asked him.
“It’s entirely possible,” he [Eastlund] replied. “They have had a lot of good engineers working on it for some time. I would hope they have improved it.”
Aviation Week reports in 2008 that the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing an airborne version of HAARP. BAE Systems, the article tells us, is to demonstrate this unit by towing it, ‘behind a helicopter.’
Here is a picture of what is described as a mobile HAARP ship:
It has been speculated that this HAARP ship was used to trigger the March 2011 magnitude 9.0 Japan earthquake.
There may be many HAAARP-like facilities of which we are not aware. There may be HAARP-like technology all around us! As noted earlier, ionospheric heaters such as HAARP are used in combination to increase capabilities and effectiveness.
A little HAARP atop the Rocky Mountains at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) might work well. This is also the location from which I speculate the airplanes are commanded.
A Pattern of Deception
When it comes to HAARP, our government has shown a pattern of denial and obfuscation. In many instances, the HAARP website and the military contradict each other and/or the authors of ‘Angels Don’t Play this HAARP.’
The HAARP website claims that HAARP is not used for weather modification and the military has never admitted to these capabilities. The patents, Nick Begich, Jeane Manning and the European parliament say HAARP can modify the weather.
Although the HAARP website claims experiments are only being carried out in a relatively small portion of the ionosphere directly over the facility, the HAARP executive summary says, “For broader military applications, the potential for significantly altering regions of the ionosphere at relatively great distances (1000 km or more) from a [ionospheric] heater is very desirable.”
The HAARP website claims that HAARP does not make holes in the ionosphere. The European parliament and the authors of Angels Don’t Play this HAARP say it does.
The HAARP website and the military deny that HAARP is a ‘Star Wars’ defense type weapon. The European parliament and the authors of Angels Don’t Play this HAARP insist it is; the patents support their position. Angels says:
In February, 1995, the Star Wars missile defense shield was supposed to be dead. The United States House of Representatives by a 218 to 212 voted to kill the program. Yet HAARP continues on while the motives of the military are hidden from the world.
Here’s more about Eastlund from Angels:
Eastlund told Chadwick of National Public Radio that the patent should have been kept under government secrecy. He said he had been unhappy that it was issued publicly, but, as he understood it, the patent office does not keep basic ‘fundamental information’ secret. ‘You don’t get a patent if you don’t describe in enough detail to another person how to use it,’ he said. Specifics of military applications of his patent remain proprietary (secret), he added.
I guess it’s just a matter of who you trust. I choose to trust the patents, Nick Begich and Jeane Manning because, about HAARP, the government has been caught lying. To my knowledge, the authors of ‘Angels Don’t Play this HAARP’ have not once yet been found to be lying. The patents speak for themselves.
Even the technocratic European parliament found serious concerns about HAARP. A 1999 European parliament committee report, after hearing Dr. Nick Begich and others, concluded:
[the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection] Regards the US military ionospheric manipulation system, HAARP, based in Alaska, which is only a part of the development and deployment of electromagnetic weaponry for both external and internal security use, as an example of the most serious emerging military threat to the global environment and human health, as it seeks to interfere with the highly sensitive and energetic section of the biosphere for military purposes, while all of its consequences are not clear, and calls on the Commission, Council and the Member States to press the US Government, Russia and any other state involved in such activities to cease them, leading to a global convention against such weaponry;
I speculate that HAARP, when and if used for nefarious purposes (such as weather modification in co-operation with chemtrails), is remotely operated from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and/or Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. During my humble investigation, I found that these three locations have produced much of the leading research and development. HAARP is an incredibly high-tech machine. You need highly skilled scientists and engineers to run the thing. The best place to run HAARP would be from a laboratory where the technology was developed. Also, most people (top scientists included) are generally not so hot about relocating to the wilds of Alaska. As noted earlier, HAARP can be remotely operated.
We know HAARP can modify the weather. If one could, don’t you think they would? Weather control is god-like power. Chemtrails may be sprayed to enhance the effectiveness of these operations. If this is the case, our government’s pattern of lying and obfuscation about HAARP makes perfect sense and is consistent with behavior exhibited by others associated with every aspect of chemtrails, geoengineering and the related activities I outline.
By Elad Benari
The Pentagon has reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin Corp on a $450 million program to enhance electronic warfare equipment on the F-35 fighter jet, and integrate Israeli-unique systemsbeginning in 2016, sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters on Thursday.
According to the report, the deal, to be finalized in the coming weeks, marks a big step forward for Israel’s $2.75 billion agreement to buy 19 F-35 jets,which was signed in October 2010and includes options for up to 75 of the radar-evading fighters.
The Pentagon said the Israeli foreign arms sale could be worth up to $15.2 billion if all options are exercised, when it first approved the sale in September 2008.
“This agreement kicks off the Israeli program,” one of the sources told Reuters. “Now all of the agreements are in place.”
The F-35 will allow for even greater collaboration in the coming years with Israel, a critical strategic ally for the United States at a time when much of the Middle East is in turmoil.
The deal comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prepares to visit Israel next week where he will discuss heightened tensions with Iran.
Reuters noted that the deal also provides a vote of confidence in the embattled F-35 program, whose cost and technology challenges have overshadowed a year of progress in flight testing.
The deal will allow increased participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program by Israeli companies, including Elbit Systems Ltd. and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), 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.
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.
The radar-evading, multirole F-35 is the Pentagon’s costliest arms purchase, expected to top $396 billion for 2,443 aircraft in three models through the mid-2030s.
Lockheed and its subcontractors are building the stealthy warplane for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps along with Britain and seven other co-development partners: Italy, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.
In addition to Israel, Japan also has a signed agreement to buy the F-35, which was designed to replace a range of fighter, strike and ground-attack aircraft, including the F-16.