Despite the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme’s “unique relationship with Israel,” the country has not been granted unfettered access to every component on the 33 aircraft it intends to purchase.

Tel Aviv is demanding much from the joint programme office (JPO), including a local maintenance, repair and overhaul facility and pilot and maintainer training with full-motion simulators, even though those types of capabilities are being centralised at planned regional F-35 centres in America, Asia and Europe.

The Israeli Air Force has relative freedom to upgrade, modernise and weaponise its Boeing F-15s and Lockheed Martin F16s, and will have extended access to F-35 hardware, but there are still some aspects of the aircraft that will remain off limit, according to the US programme director. […]