Israel is concerned about a deal to provide F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey and has been discussing with the United States delivering jets without performance-enhancing software, Hareetz reported on Sunday.
A senior Israeli defence official told Hareetz that says Israel would like to remain the only country in the Middle East with the F-35 in order to keep its military qualitative edge.
While Israel officially denies any negotiations with the United States over the deal regarding Turkey’s purchase of F-35 planes, sources in Washington confirmed to Haaretz the talks between two countries centred around software developed by the Americans that allows the “upgrading” of F-35 capabilities.
The Israel Air Force is scheduled to receive the software that will improve the plane’s performance in July, and Israel wants planes to be provided to Turkey without the software.
One F-35 fighter jet is slated to be delivered Turkey as of June, despite s bill was approved at the U.S. Congress on May 24, demanding the suspension of U.S. weapons sales to Turkey. Another bill sailed through a U.S. Senate committee targets Turkey and has provisions to suspend F-35 jets to Turkey.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during hearings at the U.S. Congress last week said he has not decided yet whether to deliver the jets to Turkey, a NATO ally. Pompeo said “the trend is wrong” in Turkey.