From Super Kfir via Arie and Hadish to the Lavi - 70s IAI fighter studies

iverson

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Considering all the money invested by the USA, I have long wondered if Lavi was merely a USAF Research and Development program that Americans never expected to enter production. Grumman learned plenty about composites when building Lavi airframe components. Lear-Seigler learned about auto-pilots and stability augmentation systems, Sunstrand learned auxiliary power systems, etc.
Israel also learned how to build first-rate intercept radar that they retrofitted to a dozen other types of airframes.
Your suggestion makes a certain sense--which makes the historian in me doubt that it can be correct. The reasons behind events are seldom so neat and tidy.

US support for the Lavi was driven by a messy, conflicted combination of domestic politics, economic interests, and foreign policy. In the US, popular support for Israel was strong. Israel had a can-do attitude and a reputation for being better than anyone at everything military. So politics favored funding the Lavi. But, at the same time, in the wake of the Oil Crisis and the Iranian Revolution, US business interests strongly favored Gulf monarchies with oil to sell and money to spend on American goods, particularly weapons and more particularly aircraft. The Lavi directly competed with the aircraft on offer and benefited from the technology developed for them. So their was also strong domestic opposition to, on the one hand, giving away funding for a project that undercut US corporate bottom lines and, on the other, risking the loss of deep-pocketed Arab customers. Simply put, paying for Lavi meant losing money rather than making it.

The US government could manage the balance only so long as the Lavi remained an inexpensive, lightweight fighter closely tailored to Israel's peculiar requirements. Once it was an advanced fighter on a par with anything in the world, it was on shakey ground. And at that moment, costs started to balloon, giving the forces that wanted to kill the program the extra everage they needed.

Lavi was doomed from the start, in my opinion, because it never made political-economic sense. Nesher/Kfir were viable because they were relatively simple projects that the Israeli economy could support on its own, once the French technology was acquired. But Lavi was inconceivable without the US to pay almost all of the bills, and US support could not last under the circumstances prevailing in the 1980s.
 

Archibald

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US support for the Lavi was driven by a messy, conflicted combination of domestic politics, economic interests, and foreign policy. In the US, popular support for Israel was strong. Israel had a can-do attitude and a reputation for being better than anyone at everything military. So politics favored funding the Lavi.


Bingo. I remember reading a thoughful paper about the Lavi and it was very much what you say.
Think about the F-20. Or the F-18L. Congress allowed Lavi to happen despite having already way too many LWF on its plate: F-16, F-16-79, F-18A and Northrop three screws: F-17 / F-20 / F-18L.
Basically circa 1981 an Israeli sympathetic faction in Congress (Charles Wilson, from memory) helped the Lavi cause only for the US LWF pack to crush it later in the 80's.

As we say in French: c'est Lavi ! (badum, tsss !!!)
 
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riggerrob

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... Your suggestion makes a certain sense--which makes the historian in me doubt that it can be correct. The reasons behind events are seldom so neat and tidy. ...

Fictional plots must make sense and wrap up all the loose ends by the end of the book or film.
Too bad real life is not that predictable. I often wonder if some decisions are based solely upon the notion that a general had an argument with his mistress that morning?????
Hah!
Hah!
 

riggerrob

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Northrop really got screwed over on the F-18L. A dozen allies (Australia, Canada, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, and some Arabs) wanted to buy a lighter-weight, land-only version because they could not afford aircraft carriers.
Northrop offered a simplified, lighter-weight landing gear, but never delivered.
Stock CF-18 main landing gear was ridiculously complex with its kneeling shock absorbers (for carrier landings, multiple brake discs, wheels that translated as they retracted, struts that shortened as they retracted, etc. Despite working on CF-18s for two years, I only understood CF-18 landing gear retraction for one day!
The only saving grace of CF-18 landing gear was that it was built so hopelessly over-strength that never broke.
Another annoying party was that the landing gear was that it was deeply integrated with flight control software, so any time the landing gear malfunctioned, it required many hours of electronic technicians' time to diagnose. Meanwhile airframe techs (hydraulics) sat around bored.
If you looked at panel numbers and airframe bulges, it was obvious that CF-18 was really a YF-17 "tweeked" for the naval mission. The airframe required a complete re-design to make it fully "naval" in the F-18E model.
 

zen

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So the AH paths are essentially IAI pursue the Lavi with other partners. Possibly from the start.
Hence my suggestion of Yugoslavia, as this could get underway from 1983 onwards.
 

iverson

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... Your suggestion makes a certain sense--which makes the historian in me doubt that it can be correct. The reasons behind events are seldom so neat and tidy. ...

Fictional plots must make sense and wrap up all the loose ends by the end of the book or film.
Too bad real life is not that predictable. I often wonder if some decisions are based solely upon the notion that a general had an argument with his mistress that morning?????
Hah!
Hah!
I expect so. Even more frighteningly, I suspect that at least a few leaders based their policies on your movie plots.
 

Archibald

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Well France 1940 collapse was related to PM Paul Reynaud mistress being a shrew and defeatist. Plus constantly meddling with politics and military affairs. Helene Des Portes turned Reynaud into an emotional wreck and a wimp. As if things weren't bad enough for France elsewhere...
 

Cjc

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Considering all the money invested by the USA, I have long wondered if Lavi was merely a USAF Research and Development program that Americans never expected to enter production. Grumman learned plenty about composites when building Lavi airframe components. Lear-Seigler learned about auto-pilots and stability augmentation systems, Sunstrand learned auxiliary power systems, etc.
Israel also learned how to build first-rate intercept radar that they retrofitted to a dozen other types of airframes.
Your suggestion makes a certain sense--which makes the historian in me doubt that it can be correct. The reasons behind events are seldom so neat and tidy.

US support for the Lavi was driven by a messy, conflicted combination of domestic politics, economic interests, and foreign policy. In the US, popular support for Israel was strong. Israel had a can-do attitude and a reputation for being better than anyone at everything military. So politics favored funding the Lavi. But, at the same time, in the wake of the Oil Crisis and the Iranian Revolution, US business interests strongly favored Gulf monarchies with oil to sell and money to spend on American goods, particularly weapons and more particularly aircraft. The Lavi directly competed with the aircraft on offer and benefited from the technology developed for them. So their was also strong domestic opposition to, on the one hand, giving away funding for a project that undercut US corporate bottom lines and, on the other, risking the loss of deep-pocketed Arab customers. Simply put, paying for Lavi meant losing money rather than making it.

The US government could manage the balance only so long as the Lavi remained an inexpensive, lightweight fighter closely tailored to Israel's peculiar requirements. Once it was an advanced fighter on a par with anything in the world, it was on shakey ground. And at that moment, costs started to balloon, giving the forces that wanted to kill the program the extra everage they needed.

Lavi was doomed from the start, in my opinion, because it never made political-economic sense. Nesher/Kfir were viable because they were relatively simple projects that the Israeli economy could support on its own, once the French technology was acquired. But Lavi was inconceivable without the US to pay almost all of the bills, and US support could not last under the circumstances prevailing in the 1980s.
Hell the only reason israel whent for it anyway was because Carter didn't want israel to biuld f-16 on there own, get rid of that and lavi is never born.
 
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