As the US moves ahead with $3 billion sale of F-35s to Israel, Canada continues to supply key parts for these bombers

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: An IAF F-35 Adir.

On March 19, Middle East Eye reported: “The US plans to move ahead with a $2.5bn [also reported as $3 billion] sale of F-35 fighter jets, Josh Paul, the former director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s bureau of political-military affairs, said.”

The Times of Israel has previously reported these fighter-bombers would be “delivered in batches of three beginning in 2027.”

But the EurAsian Times reported in January: “Although the decision to purchase the F-35I Adir was taken [in July 2023], Tel Aviv is making efforts to expedite the purchase now as its military continues to pound the Gaza Strip.”

Axios has also reported: “Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant will come to Washington [on Tuesday March 26] with a long list of U.S. weapons Israel wants to receive in an expedited manner, two Israeli and U.S. officials said.”

That article adds Gallant would come with a series of requests including “short-term requests for the war in Gaza but also long-term ones, including the option to purchase more F-35 and F-15 fighter jets.”

Israel’s existing fleet of F-35s

Lockheed Martin has highlighted: “Lockheed Martin has supplied the Israel Air Force with fifth-generation fighter jets, following the decision of the Israeli government in September 2010 to select the F-35 Lightning II fighter. Named ‘Adir’ [meaning Mighty One] in Israel, the initial acquisition agreement included 19 Adir fighter jets, with the first two planes arriving in December 2016. Between November 2014 and October 2016, the government of Israel ordered an additional 31 aircraft in order to complete a second F-35 squadron. A total of 50 aircraft are projected to be delivered by 2024.”

Al Jazeera has reported that with the Israeli Ministry of Defence decision in July 2023 to purchase 25 more aircraft from Lockheed Martin that will bring the total number to 75 F-35s in Israel’s air force.

Canadian components in F-35s

Kelsey Gallagher of Project Ploughshares has noted in his Fanning the Flames report that at least 110 Canadian-based suppliers have been awarded contracts for the F-35 program and that a study commissioned by Lockheed Martin in 2018 says there are US$2.3-million worth of Canadian components in every F-35 fighter jet.

What are some of those components?

In April 2022, the CBC reported: “More than 100 years after shipyard workers in Lunenburg, N.S., shaped wood and metal to build the Bluenose schooner, the tradition of local, hand-built excellence lives on. But now, instead of fishing boats, it’s fighter jets.”

That article further notes that the Toulouse, France-based Stelia Aerospace facility in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia has been contracted to, for example, build shims to help open and close the weapons bay doors of F-35s sold to other countries.

What comes out of those weapons bay doors?

Israeli F-35s have reportedly been equipped with 907-kilogram GBU-31 JDAM bombs. Guided Bomb Units (GBU) 31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) were developed by Boeing for the US Air Force and US Navy.

Stelia in Lunenburg website.

British components in F-35s

Nine organizations in the UK, including Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Amnesty International and Quakers in Britain, have highlighted: “The UK provides approximately 15% of the components in the F-35 stealth bomber aircraft currently being used in Gaza, including the rear fuselage and active interceptor system, ejector seats, aircraft tyres, refuelling probe, laser targeting system, and the fan propulsion system. Durability testing for the F-35 is also undertaken in the UK.”

They have demanded: “an immediate suspension of arms transfers to all parties to the current conflict.”

Court rules on Dutch components for Israeli F-35s

In February of this year, the Court of Appeals in The Hague ruled that the Dutch State must stop “any export and transit of F-35 parts with final destination Israel.”

The NL Times reports: “According to the court, there is a real risk of Israel using those fighter jets, kept up and running with parts delivered by the Netherlands, to commit serious violations of humanitarian law of war in the Gaza Strip.”

Canadian government response

Earlier this month, the Canadian government supported a motion in the House of Commons earlier this month that says Canada will “cease the further authorization and transfer of arms exports to Israel to ensure compliance with Canada’s arms export regime and increase efforts to stop the illegal trade of arms, including to Hamas.”

Despite this the Canadian government does not appear to have taken action with respect to the issue of F-35 components.

Lockheed Martin at CANSEC, May 29-30

Lockheed Martin has said that it “is proud of the significant role it has fulfilled in the security of the State of Israel.”

The company will be present with Israel at the CANSEC arms show in Ottawa this coming Wednesday May 29-Thursday May 30.

The company will sponsor the “CANSEC Evening Networking Reception” starting at 5 pm at the CAE Meal Hall 1 on May 29.

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