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Can Israel develop its own stealth fighter jet

This is a discussion on Can Israel develop its own stealth fighter jet within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Hello guys, I was discussing this very issue with some friends of mine, and got to the conclusion that if ...


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Old August 15th, 2010   #1
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Can Israel develop its own stealth fighter jet

Hello guys, I was discussing this very issue with some friends of mine, and got to the conclusion that if Israel can make some state of the art main battle thanks like the MK-IV, or some advanced ballistic missiles like the arrow it could also make its own stealth planes and be more independent from the US aid, in fact there was a project in the 80´s called the Lavi and it was supposed to be better than the F-15 and was shoot down by the US.

So what do u think? Can Israel develop its own stealth fighter jet?

PD. sorry for the writing I’m not from the US.
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Old August 16th, 2010   #2
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Hello.

I dont think they can come close to Creating Stealth and they also dont have the Budget to maintain. Tho i could be Wrong.
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Old August 16th, 2010   #3
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Nothing is impossible, but it would probably send the country broke and take possibly 15 years, and they would probably not end up with an aircraft as effective as the F22/F35. Therefore why bother? There is a quantam leap in capabilities needed to go from modifying older existing designs in the past (KFIR from Mirage III for example) to designing a completely new stealth aircraft. As I say, not impossible, but also not cost effective.

I know enough about mechanical things to probably build my own car from scratch but I'm pretty damn sure it would be far cheaper and easier just to buy one.
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Old August 16th, 2010   #4
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Originally Posted by rasta View Post
Hello guys, I was discussing this very issue with some friends of mine, and got to the conclusion that if Israel can make some state of the art main battle thanks like the MK-IV, or some advanced ballistic missiles like the arrow it could also make its own stealth planes and be more independent from the US aid, in fact there was a project in the 80´s called the Lavi and it was supposed to be better than the F-15 and was shoot down by the US.

So what do u think? Can Israel develop its own stealth fighter jet?

PD. sorry for the writing I’m not from the US.
It's possible, given the access to the right technologies. It depends on the research gaps about stealth that exist within the Israeli military/industrial arm. With the announced sale of the F-35, Israel would gain access to a lot of baseline technologies that could close those gaps or simply be improved as a result of good old fashioned ingenuity. But it will take time.

Israel approves F-35I purchase
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Old August 16th, 2010   #5
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Not likely

Israel will not be able to build a stealth fighter without going broke!

The U.S. is having a hard time getting the F-35 into production and they have a guaranteed market for at least 2500 aircraft. Israel would be lucky to sell 500 aircraft if they could build it.

Back in the 1980's, it was not the U.S. that shot down the LAVI, but ISRAEL'S overly ambitious plans for the LAVI. They could have tried to build an F-5 class of fighter and succeeded. Instead they aimed at a moving target. The F-16 was a simple aircraft from an avionics point of view, but very sophisticated from every other aspect. Now, 30 years later, it is still winning orders and has evolved into one of the wolrd's leading multi-role fighters.

First the engine. ISRAEL has no experience in designing and building high performance jet engines. This resulted in the first costly failure in the LAVI program. Right now, only a handful of countries can DESIGN & BUILD high performance fighter engines. The U.S., U.K., FRANCE and RUSSIA. This is a field where experience counts.

Even SWEDEN, the home of the GRIFFIN, uses a U.S. engine. INDIA on the other hand is perfect proof of what a disaster you can create with the TEJAS by designing your own engine.

The next problem was that they were designing an aircraft with little if any advantage over the target, the F-16. The LAVI would not have been able to match the outstanding range of the F-16 and probably could not exceed the F-16's performance limits in a dogfight. SO WHY BOTHER WHEN IT WOULD COST TWICE AS MUCH OR MORE?

Also, the U.S. is not sharing stealth technology. So where is ISRAEL going to get it. Developing it is very expensive. The U.S. now has experience with at least 5 stealthy aircraft and it is still very costly.
Both FRANCE and the EADS NATIONS have a great deal of experience with aircraft and yet they only included SOME STEALTH features in the RAFALE and EUROFIGHTER. RUSSIA has still not been able to produce a stealth aircraft.

ISRAEL might be able to do it, but it would bankrupt the country even worse than the LAVI would have.

JIM
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Old August 18th, 2010   #6
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The short answer: No. There are enough (more appropriate and more economical) options out there before Israel has to consider developing and building a homegrown stealth fighter. It's likely Israel will be an F-35 buyer, rendering the development of an Israeli VLO platform largely moot.

The long answer: Maybe. Israel might be able to add some LO features to existing fighters (an Israeli "Silent Eagle" perhaps?); but a ground-up all-Israeli stealth platform is still very unlikely. And even then, one of the only ways I could see this happening was if Israel was placed under stringent embargoes or sanctions, preventing it from buying any foreign "stealth" aircraft (something similar happened post-Osriak, when F-16 sales to Israel were temporarily halted in protest).
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Old September 3rd, 2010   #7
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More Than Just a Yes or No Question

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Originally Posted by rasta View Post
Can Israel develop its own stealth fighter jet?
There is a big difference between "could" and "should", as I will explain momentarily.

First, there are a few misconceptions that I need to clear up.

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Originally Posted by golden View Post
Also, the U.S. is not sharing stealth technology. So where is ISRAEL going to get it. Developing it is very expensive.
There have been rumors flying around for some time now that the Israelis either already have, or are at the very least developing a new line of low observable UAV's. In recent interviews, Israeli developers have even acknowledged that they are working in this direction:
Experts Look At Next-Generation Israeli UAS | AVIATION WEEK

To quote from the father of Lockheed Martin's stealth program, the four secrets of stealth are "shape, shape, shape, materials". With modern computational capabilities (which can make ray tracing routine), designing the shape of a stealth vehicle is not as difficult or expensive as it once was. In terms of radar absorbing coatings, the Israelis have already acknowledged progress in this area.
Israel's secret new weapon? - Israel News, Ynetnews

For an industrially developed nation like Israel (or Europe, or Japan for that matter), the real cost for developing a stealth fighter today would not be in developing the stealth technology. It would the cost of developing and fielding a new fighter.

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The next problem was that they were designing an aircraft with little if any advantage over the target, the F-16. The LAVI would not have been able to match the outstanding range of the F-16 and probably could not exceed the F-16's performance limits in a dogfight. SO WHY BOTHER WHEN IT WOULD COST TWICE AS MUCH OR MORE?
Although I agree with many of the points that JIM made in his post above, he was dead wrong on this one. The F-16 was developed as a lightweight, air-to-air fighter first, with a secondary air-to-ground mission. The Lavi was developed as an air-to-ground fighter with a secondary air-to-air mission. In terms of range and payload, the Lavi far outstripped the F-16s available in its day, offering the range and payload of a Block 52+ F-16I in an airframe with the empty weight of a Block 10 F-16A.


The Lavi was ultimately cancelled not because the Israelis didn't want it, nor even because it was inherently more costly than the F-16 or other alternatives - but because it was more costly at the production volumes that the Israelis could afford. When the Lavi program was launched, it was built under the assumption that the Israeli air force could afford to buy 300 such airplanes. By the time that they were ready to sign the production contracts in 1987, however, it had become apparent that the Israelis could afford - at best - half that number. On a production run of 150 airplanes, the Lavi was no longer cost effective.

So back to the original question. Could the Israelis develop their own, indigenous stealth fighter? Yes, they most certainly could. There are even some in Israel who have suggested that Israel should take this route:
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition...ve-it-1.304297

The Israelis are not entirely satisfied with the F-35. The US has agreed to allow the Israelis to include Israeli communications gear in the F-35, but they have refused to allow the IDF to integrate Israeli electronic warfare systems. This has been a big sticking point for some time.
Israeli analysts at odds over purchase of F-35

The F-35 also does not have the range that the Israelis would have wanted. The F-35 was sized around the requirements of the most technologically difficult of its three variants: the STOVL F-35B. This meant that the wing are could only get so big, and the airplane could only be so big, if they wanted an engine with the necessary thrust for STOVL operations. The Israelis would have preferred a stretched version, with more fuel, more payload, and two cockpits. They also would have preferred to install their own EW systems, so that they did not have to become reliant on the US to supply electronic libraries and jamming routines for the US and European-supplied radars and missile systems sold to Israel's neighbors. But they are not going to get those things, and they cannot afford to purchase enough airplanes on their own to justify launching an all-new, indigenous fighter program without a foreign partner. Whether they could do so is moot. They can't afford to do so on their own.

So for now, the Israelis are planning to buy the F-35, beginning with an initial batch of 20 fighters due to arrive between 2015 and 2017.
Israel To Buy F-35s With Cockpit Mods | AVIATION WEEK

Follow-on purchases, however, will depend a lot on the terms being offered, and what else becomes available. Contrary to popular belief, the F-35 is not expected to be the last fighter that the United States ever produces.
Boeing displays concepts for F/A-18E/F replacement
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Old September 4th, 2010   #8
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Develop vs Afford

Israel developed an F-16 class fighter 25 years ago. They can certainly develop another one. Exactly how LO or stealthy they could make the aircraft would be entirely open to debate. They might surprise a few people in this area; however, as was mentioned they would still be using a foreign engine.

The real question of course would be given a limited production run could they afford the program and here one would be forgiven for suspecting not. The one scenario where Israel might develop a new jet that in theory could make economic sense would be with India. Israel has some co development projects now with India and how these proceed could indicate the prospects of more and/or larger projects in future. That said the history of Indian weapons development is rather poor.

The vote to cancel Lavi was extremely close and some who voted to cancel it have to come to regret that vote. Personally I think the case of Israeli fighter development and export is more limited given the political constraints on exports with US engines- although Israel did export quite a few Kfir's with J79's.

Israel produces and exports myriad amounts of weapons and weapon systems. One can observe Spike, as in Eurospike, pretty much replacing the former range of European ATGW's and the many nations flying Israeli UAV's as well as how many aircraft around the world contain Israeli avionics. Our corporations are probably lucky they can't produce everything. However, one day with an international(s) partner they just might go into the fighter business.
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Old September 4th, 2010   #9
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Israel developed an F-16 class fighter 25 years ago.
Israel? No. Lavi was, in reality, a joint US-Israeli development. Israel drove the project, but the USA provided most of the money, & much of the technical expertise. A great deal of the development was done by US firms, paid by the USA..
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Old September 5th, 2010   #10
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Yes, but not quickly or cheaply

The basic principles of stealth design are well known by just about everyone, but not the fiddling little details that is learned from mistakes exposed by hard experience and endless testing. The F-35 is not the USAs first stealth plane, but its 4th, covering an operational period of nearly 30 years, over 40 years including research and design.

Israel would have to replicate much of the experience gained leading up to F-35 to produce something nearly as good, probably a minimum of 10 years work by a couple hundred of their best minds plus the time to build necessary testing facilities (if they can find secure locations) before they can start work on a serious design. The whole thing will have to be a ‘black’ program, partially just to keep details from their enemies (and allies), but mostly to keep their own politicians from being aware of the failure rate for their designs. There will be a LOT of failures for politicians to fasten on to and call for the program termination, so funds can be used for ‘better’ purposes. This is the biggest threat to any stealth program.

So yes, they could build their own plane with stealth equivalent to the F-35, and have it ready for deployment with 12 to 20 years of continuous program funding. Or they can have the F-35 in 6 to 8 years, and probably for much less money.
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Old September 5th, 2010   #11
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Israel? No. Lavi was, in reality, a joint US-Israeli development. Israel drove the project, but the USA provided most of the money, & much of the technical expertise. A great deal of the development was done by US firms, paid by the USA..
90% US funds.

From fas.org:
Over the course of the Lavi project, the US government invested over $2 billion of taxpayers' money, established foreign policy precedents, and transferred sensitive technology. Feelings are still raw in many quarters of the US government over the way the Lavi issue was handled, and many people question whether the program was in the best interests of the United States.

Both GAO and DOD believed that the primary purpose of the FMS program was to support US firms by buying US goods and services. Thus, the fact that Israel was able to finance 90 percent of the Lavi's R&D--much of it in Israel--with FMS credits from the United States was a sore point with many US government officials and aircraft manufacturers. ... In all, $1.5 billion of Lavi financing went directly to Israel to support its industry and economy--money that could have been spent in the United States.
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Old September 7th, 2010   #12
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Israel? No. Lavi was, in reality, a joint US-Israeli development. Israel drove the project, but the USA provided most of the money, & much of the technical expertise.
I quite agree that the Lavi was a joint development effort, but would be careful about drawing sweeping conclusions about who provided what technical expertise.

The United States provided most of the funding for the program, and to keep that funding flowing the Israelis had to source at least half of the detail components in the US. Certainly the United States provided all of the technical expertise behind the engine - the same of which could be said for Sweden's Gripen or India's Tejas. But in terms of the aerodynamic, structural and avionics integration, the expertise was primarily Israeli.

This was not like Taiwan's Ching Kuo or South Korea's F/A-50 fighters - where Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth Division (formerly General Dynamics' Fort Worth Divison) provided aerodynamic and structural design guidance. The Israelis were wholly responsible for the aerodynamic and structural layout of the Lavi. They had spent much of the 1970s conducting trade studies on both single engine and twin engine designs, before finally down-selecting to the "Layout 33" concept that formed the basis for the Lavi.

The Israelis conducted their own wind tunnel testing, did their own static stability studies, and developed their own flight control laws. The fly-by-wire computers may have been built in the US (by Lear Siegler), but the software was Israeli. Similarly the fuselage and all-moving, composite canard were manufactured in Israel, while the composite wings and vertical tail were contracted to Grumman Corp. It was estimated at the time that, had the Israelis attempted to develop the aeroelastic tailoring routines that went into the wing structural lay-up themselves, that it would have set the program back by two years. Grumman - as some of us recall - had just completed work on the composite wing structure for the X-29 and was ahead of the rest of the US aerospace industry at that time, in terms of their practical experience with composites design.

As prime contractor, IAI was also responsible for the avionics integration of the Lavi, combining an Israeli designed radar (from IAI's Elta divison), and Israeli designed multifunction displays, with a US developed Head-Up Display. The electronic warfare suite was, of course, entirely Israeli.

So yes, the Israelis did employ US funding to support the Lavi program, and yes, the US provided the majority of the technical expertise in certain areas - but no in all.
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Old September 7th, 2010   #13
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Israel would have to replicate much of the experience gained leading up to F-35 to produce something nearly as good, probably a minimum of 10 years work by a couple hundred of their best minds plus the time to build necessary testing facilities (if they can find secure locations) before they can start work on a serious design. The whole thing will have to be a ‘black’ program, partially just to keep details from their enemies (and allies), but mostly to keep their own politicians from being aware of the failure rate for their designs.
I do not personally believe that a go-it-alone approach is a viable alternative for Israel's future fighter needs. Israel just cannot support enough production volume to justify an all new design. However, I would caution that no one should assume that the Israelis do not already have experience with stealth design principals.

Unless they need to apply for US funding, the IDF keeps most of their weapons development efforts secret until they are ready to ramp up for production and are seeking export customers. There have been multiple reports that the Israelis either have, or are at the very least developing low observable UAV's. Israeli officials have even acknowledged as much in some of their recent interviews.
Experts Look At Next-Generation Israeli UAS | AVIATION WEEK

One way or another, the Israelis are going to have to master this technology if they hope to stay ahead of their adversaries in that region.
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Old September 9th, 2010   #14
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Hello guys, I was discussing this very issue with some friends of mine, and got to the conclusion that if Israel can make some state of the art main battle thanks like the MK-IV, or some advanced ballistic missiles like the arrow it could also make its own stealth planes and be more independent from the US aid, in fact there was a project in the 80´s called the Lavi and it was supposed to be better than the F-15 and was shoot down by the US.

So what do u think? Can Israel develop its own stealth fighter jet?

PD. sorry for the writing I’m not from the US.
I dont think that is quite possible.if israel have such capability,they wouldn't have ordered f 35 s from US.
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Old September 9th, 2010   #15
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Given their context, I would say yes. However it would achieve VLO capability by jammer against Syrian and Jordanian radars (which are quite old) rather then by passive design features. Against their aircraft it would achieve effective VLO capability by having a BVR advantage, a look-first shoot first capability.
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