F 35 fighter jet 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Pentagon on Thursday downplayed a comment by one of its officials that he is not totally confident in the ability of the $396 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, built by Lockheed Martin Corp, to survive a cyber attack.
Israel is scheduled to receive 20 F-35s from the US in 2015.
Christopher Bogdan, an Air Force Lieutenant General, told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee that he was "not that confident" about security implemented by the companies that build the plane.
Bogdan said the Pentagon and the international partners recognized the responsibility they had for safeguarding technology on the fifth-generation stealth fighter.
He then added, "I'm a little less confident about industry partners to be quite honest with you ... I would tell you I'm not that confident outside the department."
US military officials and industry executives said on Thursday that government and defense industry networks get probed and attacked each day, but they were unaware of any specific, recent incident involving the loss of data on the F-35 program that could have prompted Bogdan's remark.
"The F-35 is no more or less vulnerable to known cyber threats than legacy aircraft were during their initial development and early production," spokesman Joe DellaVedova said when asked about Bodgan's comments by Christopher Bodgan to lawmakers on Wednesday.
Lockheed and its partners refuted Bogdan's comments. Lockheed spokesman Michael Rein said the company had made significant investments and progress in countering cyber attacks.
In March, Israeli defense officials said they foresaw no delays in the receipt of the fighter jets in 2015.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.