"Once JSF obtains nuclear strike capability, there becomes a problem
with exports," the source said. "NATO countries would have less of a
problem; non-NATO countries would need special exemptions."
The sources said Lockheed Martin would not be instructed to develop both
nuclear- and non-nuclear models of the F-35 for the first stage of
production. Israel has sought to become among the first export clients of
Over the last few months, the administration has rejected a series of
Israeli requests regarding modifications of the F-35. They included Israeli
electronic warfare systems and acquisition of U.S. software codes that would
allow Israel to repair the aircraft's central computer. The U.S. refusal
meant that the Israel Air Force would be forced to send the F-35 to the
United States for any repairs, a process that could take months.
The sources said the State
Department has been delaying Israeli requests for pre-export licenses
required for an examination of the new generation F-15.
The sources said the administration has not approved the new F-15 for
the Foreign Military Sales program. They said this could prevent Israel from
using U.S. military aid to purchase the aircraft from Boeing.
"This is a legal issue," a source said. "The F-15SE might not qualify