In a statement released by Lockheed Martin over the weekend, the company, which is producing advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets to be shipped to Israel, said that is has chosen to only manufacture a pilot's helmet co-developed by Israeli company Elbit Systems.
Lockheed Martin said the decision to only focus on making the "Rockwell Collins Elbit Systems of America Vision Systems Generation 2 (Gen 2) helmet currently used in training and testing" will save the company $45 million it had "originally allocated for the development of the alternate helmet."
The Israel Air Force will receive its first F-35 jets in the second half of 2016. Israel has ordered 19 F-35s, for a total cost of $2.75 billion, and has the option to purchase a total of 75 F-35s. They will become the IAF's spearhead, capable of conducting strategic long-range operations and remaining undetected by enemy radar systems.
"In 2011, program and industry officials acknowledged that there were technical issues facing the principle helmet system. ... The government's decision to proceed exclusively with the principle helmet is indicative of their confidence in the helmet's performance and the successful resolution of previously identified technical challenges," said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 Lightning II program.
The F-35s "Helmet Mounted Display Systems" provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness. All the information pilots need to complete their missions -- in all weather, day or night -- is projected on the helmet's visor.
Last week Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon toured Lockheed Martin's F-35 manufacturing plant in Texas.
The IAF has decided to name the stealth-fighter F-35, which it will receive from the U.S. no earlier than 2017, "Adir," meaning "powerful one."
"Adir" was picked out of 1,700 proposed names, and was suggested by the Nevatim Airbase near Beersheba. Fighter jets in the IAF are usually named after birds of prey, such as hawk and falcon, or powerful forces of nature like storm or thunder. This time, the IAF has opted to name its state-of-the-art aircraft after its powerful capabilities.