https://www.yahoo.com/news/why-israeli- ... 00878.html
In August 1987, the Israeli cabinet killed the Lavi, which caused protests from IAI and the workers associated with the project. Nevertheless, a political effort to revive the plane failed, and Israel eventually acquired a large number of F-16s. In its afterlife, however, the Lavi helped kill the export prospects of the F-22 Raptor; out of concern that Israel had shared Lavi (and thus F-16) technology with the Chinese (leading to the J-10), the U.S. Congress prohibited any export of the F-22. This decision prevented Israel and several other interested buyers from acquiring the Raptor, and undoubtedly cut short its overall production life.
Instead of pursuing its own fighters, Israel has lately preferred to extensively modify the aircraft it buys from the United States. The F-15I “Thunder” and the F-16I “Storm” have both received major upgrades to optimize them for Israeli service. Both planes have increased range and improved avionics, enabling the IDF to fight effectively at great distance from its bases. The F-15I, a variant of the F-15E Strike Eagle, is the IAF’s most important long-range strike platform. The IAF has already undertaken steps to make the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter more suitable for Israeli service, including advanced software modifications.
IAI has continued to see great success, despite the lack of a major fighter project. IAI has thrived on developing and exporting components for domestic as well as export use, including munitions and avionics. IAI has also gone big into the UAV market, with major success both within Israel and abroad. And despite the failure of the Lavi, Israel’s high-tech defense sector has done well, will considerable spillover into the civilian economy. Israeli state industrial policy focuses on exactly this goal: supplying investment for high-tech innovation that facilitates both national defense and economic growth.
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