A three-time former Israeli defense minister and principal driver behind the long-defunct US-Israel Lavi program insists it is not too late to revive the Israeli-designed fighter to compete against the French Rafale in India.

In a commentary published Dec. 2 in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, Moshe Arens said the fighter designed by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) “is potentially a more capable aircraft than the Rafale,” and could be more attractive particularly if significant technology transfer to India is part of the competitive bid.

According to Arens, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and one-time vice president at IAI, Israel’s largest defense and aerospace firm, has never recovered from the 1987 decision to terminate the joint program. […]