I don’t know if any of you remember the Lavi, but it was the coolest multi-role, long range fighter-bomber being designed ANYWHERE. It could out-fly and out-fight anything and anyone.
And, it was being developed by Israel.
Then, the US government killed it (at the instigation of General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin). The tinyÂ Lavi was a threat to big business, and we just couldn’t have that.
Now, I’m going to be fair here and tell you that the Lavi was hurt also by managerial incompetence within Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). What that means is that Israeli mistakes gave a lever to Israel’s enemies in the US. Still, without US efforts to kill the project, the Lavi would fly today.*
Well,Â let me take that back. It does fly today – as the Jian-10 or Chengdu J-10. The Chinese J-10 Vigorous Dragon. The Chinese-made, Chinese Air Force (PLAAF), J-10. The notmadeinIsrael, J-10.
Getting the picture?
Well, here’s one:
It is a lot cheaper than the F-16. It can out-fly and out-fightÂ the F-16. It isÂ harder to detect than the F-16. It has longer range than the F-16.
ItÂ is all of that because it was originally the Lavi.
I may have confused you a bit here, so let me spell it out. The Chengdu J-10 isÂ a Chinese-modified version of theÂ IAI Lavi -Â made in China and updated for the 21stÂ century.Â
So, what happened? I’m not sure that we will ever really know, but it is safe to say that after the US killed a projectÂ on whichÂ Israel had spent billions of dollars, someone decided to try and recoup that loss by selling the technology to the one government that would never (conceivably) be a threat to either Israel or the US.
You can just imagine some Israeli at IAI trying to balance the books after this fiasco, and saying ‘hey, let’s try and save something’.
The Chinese would never be a threat to anyone, right?
Guess who has been putting in big orders for the J-10?
That’s right. Iran.
The United States has been the biggest friend that Israel has ever had, but there are people in the United States that hate Israel and will do anything that they can to stop her. Some of those people are at the Pentagon. Still more are at the US State Department. Their hatred for Israel, and their greed, shot down an important fighter plane and put American servicemen (and women) at risk.
Let’sÂ take a moment to discussÂ some theÂ greed that I alluded to above. The designers and manufacturers of the F-16, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin,Â were worried that theÂ development of the Lavi would cut into their sales of fighter aircraft to other countries. Well, guess what, no matter how much theÂ LaviÂ would haveÂ cut into their sales, the J-10 is going to TOTALLY outsell the F-16 and F-18 – and worse, it will be in the hands ofÂ some pretty vile people.
Isaiah once said:
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper
If you make plans to hurt Israel, those plans will backfire.
Now, it’s also true that Israel’s mistakes will probably come back to haunt her in this situation, but one can only hope that Israel’s enemies will take notice of the J-10 as an object lesson.
But for now, those of us who mourned the loss of the Lavi can take momentary pleasure in knowing that she lives.
* For instance, one project that the US couldn’t kill was the Merkava, a VERY cool main battle tank.