Agoramania Soap Box
Foreign Allies Hot for Lockheed's F-35
Israel has become the first foreign nation to place its stamp of approval on the fledgling F-35 Lightning II warplane being developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth.
The Pentagon has formally notified Congress that it plans to sell up to 75 F-35s to Israel, a deal potentially worth up to $15.2 billion to Lockheed and the legion of contractors working on the program.
Israel's endorsement of the F-35 long before most flight testing is potentially valuable. Israel's air force is "the most closely watched and highly regarded outside the U.S.," said Richard Aboulafia, aerospace industry analyst for the Teal Group consulting firm in Fairfax, Va.
The company did release a statement that said: "As the first potential Foreign Military Sale of the F-35, this would be an important first step in expanding interest in the Joint Strike Fighter beyond the U.S. [government] and eight international F-35 Partner Nations."