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Pentagon, Lockheed reach agreement on using Israeli systems for F-35s

JTA

July 27, 2012 | 11:12 am

A Joint Strike Fighter STVOL (short take-off and vertical landing) version, which is being built by Lockheed Martin as the F35 Lightning II, is seen taking off in an undated photo released on July 19. Photo by REUTERS/Lockheed Martin/handout

A Joint Strike Fighter STVOL (short take-off and vertical landing) version, which is being built by Lockheed Martin as the F35 Lightning II, is seen taking off in an undated photo released on July 19. Photo by REUTERS/Lockheed Martin/handout

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin Corp. have reached an agreement to integrate Israeli systems into the F-35 fighter jet.

The $450 million program will enhance electronic warfare equipment on the jets, according to sources familiar with the negotiations, Reuters reported.

The deal, to be finalized in coming weeks, marks a big step forward for Israel’s $2.75 billion agreement, signed in 2010, to buy 19 F-35 jets; it includes options for up to 75 of the radar-evading fighters, according to Reuters.

The agreement will allow increased participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program by Israeli companies, including Elbit Systems Ltd. and Israel Aerospace Industries, which will start building wings for the radar-evading warplane, Reuters reported.

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