U.S. defense officials said Friday the United States has stooped Israel’s involvement in the development of the biggest warplane program ever, because of Israel’s arm deals with China.
‘There are some types of technology and information involved in the Joint F-35 Strike Fighter that we are not comfortable sharing until we resolve the technology and security issues,’ an official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
In recent months, Pentagon leaders have been angered by Israeli-supplied upgraded spare parts for China’s fleet of Harpy attack drones.
‘Technology has made its way inappropriately to China via Israel. There have been many violations of technology transfer agreements.’ the official said.
Israeli embassy spokesman David Siegel responded to the U.S. move saying ‘Israel is very sensitive to U.S. concerns in this regard and is in a dialogue with the administration to resolve this issue.’
Israel is a minor participant in the F-35 program. Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway are also partners in the project.
The project aims at building a family of fighter/attack jets, including conventional take-off and landing models and short take-off vertical landing.
Sources in the Pentagon confirmed that the U.S. will continue to be committed to selling the aircraft to Israel.