The Pentagon gave Israel special computer files with detailed information about enemy threats to help the country’s fleet of F-35s, which it is using against Hamas.
Following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the U.S. turned around F-35 mission data files to Israel in a “week, week and half,” Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante said Tuesday during a House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee hearing. Mission data files are essentially the brains of the jet–an extensive data system with information on potential threats.
Israel’s fleet of F-35s have performed “absolutely outstanding” in the war against Hamas, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt said during the hearing, noting the plane’s “high” mission capability rates in the Middle East–something that the F-35 program has struggled with.
“We’ve added a few capabilities to the plane in a short time, and our team continues to do everything they can to keep moving forward,” Schmidt stated.
As Pentagon officials tout the efficacy of the F-35 during the war, the death toll in Gaza has reached over 18,000 since Oct. 7, according to the health ministry of Gaza.
While not much is known about how exactly Israel is using its F-35s in the war, the Israeli Defense Force confirmed it has used one of the fighters to shoot down a cruise missile.
“The F-35 Joint Program Office has moved at a breakneck speed to support our closest partner and ally in the Middle East, Israel. The Joint Program Office has accelerated the development of F -35 weapon capabilities, and increased spare part supply rates to fight Hamas’ atrocities. Rob Wittman.
The Pentagon said it’s specifically speeding up maintenance support to Israel. “Notably in Israel, we see surging sustainment support in operations that maximizes fleet readiness, with 35 of 39 Israeli Air Force F-35A aircraft and exceeds expectations in combat,” LaPlante said in prepared remarks.
Asked by reporters about JPO’s involvement in providing spare parts to Israel for F -35, Schmidt replied, “We always try to provide spares and capabilities to all of our customers.” They’re all extremely important.”
Schmidt told lawmakers he spoke with Israel’s chief of staff on Monday, adding that the F-35 program office is going to “learn a lot” from seeing F-35s used in combat.
“They are very satisfied with what their performance from a sustainment enterprise has given them. Schmidt stated that we can learn from their quickness in turning planes and all the other things they are learning with the moving parts in conflict around the globe.
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