IAF fighter jets during the Red Flag joint exercise at Nellis air force base in Nevada .
(photo credit: COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
The Defense Ministry and US engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney have signed a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars for the maintenance of Israel Air Force F-15I and F-16I fighter-jet engines.
The 15-year contract – the first of its kind – includes a commitment by Pratt & Whitney to give first priority subcontracts to Israeli defense companies when it comes to various maintenance work, according to the ministry.
The deal was negotiated by the Defense Ministry’s US attache group, and by the IAF.
The F-16I, made by Lockheed Martin and dubbed Sufa (Storm) in the IAF, and the F-15I, originally an F-15E Boeing Strike Eagle, both come with extra fuel tanks to increase flight ranges.
The contract “will ensure that the IAF will have at its possession, at any time, a quantity of working engines, set in advance, for operating fighter aircraft,” the Defense Ministry said.
Pratt & Whitney will provide full engine maintenance, including logistical forecasts, management, upgrades and spare parts.
Three Israeli defense companies, including Israel Aerospace Industries, will take part in the maintenance work.