Lockheed Martin Corporation is the world's largest defense contractor by sales volume, and in April 2014 it was announced that they would be forming a new technology-based partnership and subsidiary based in Israel. The Israeli subsidiary known as Lockheed Martin Israel Ltd registered with the Israeli Corporations Authority in August 2014 and will primarilly be concerned with cybersecurity issues, information technology, data analytics, and cloud storage. In addition to this collaboration, Lockheed also sells military equipment to Israel including the F-35 Joint Strike fighter jet and the C130J Military Transport Airplane. Lockheed Martin has had an operating presence in Israel for over 20 years.
Lockheed Martin is interested in recieving Israeli Ministry of Defense contracts and taking part in the establishment of the IDF's new technology cluster stationed near Beersheba in Southern Israel. The hope is that this new technology sector will become the "Silicon Valley" of Israel and maybe the entire region. Multiple domestic and international companies are vying for the contracts to build infrasructure for the new technology cluster. According to Lockheed officials, this investment in Israel "demonstrates the corporation's commitment to supporting the Israeli Defense Forces". The company is attempting to expand internationally as a general statement, following defense budget cuts in the United States. Lockheed Martin International has set up subsidiaries and regional offices in Canada, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Singapore, Australia, Israel, India, Japan and South Korea and employs approximately 115,000 people world wide.
Lockheed Martin strengthened their ties with Israel on October 6, 2014 with the signing of a long-term deal with Israeli Yissum Research Development Company, a subsidiary of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Yissum Research Development Company was founded in 1964 and is the technology transfer company of Hebrew University, tasked with marketing the ideas, innovation, and technology of the University. The deal will see the two companies sponsor joint research at Hebrew University pertaining to quantum information sciences and material sciences as well. Pursuant to the agreement, Lockheed Martin has been granted the exclusive licenses to purchase any invention or product resulting from the partnership.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reached an agreement for Israel to purchase a second squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets on October 28, 2014. Israel had previously purchased 19 of the aircraft for $2.75 billion, the first of which were delivered in 2016. The second squadron of planes purchased on October 2014 will include at least 20 planes. The first planes of the second squadron order are going the be delivered starting in 2019. Israeli Aircraft Industries formed a deal earlier in 2014 with Lockheed Martin to produce 811 pairs of aircraft wings in Israel, and this production began in November 2014. The first two F-35's landed in Israel on December 13, 2016, where the American pilots were greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter. Three more of the planes arrived in Israel on April 24, 2017.
Speaking in May 2017 at an annual dinner event in Tel Aviv for the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Gary North, vice president for customer requirements at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, stated
there’s a part of Israel in every F-35 that’s ever been built.
Sources: “Lockheed Martin Opens New Office In Israel,” Lockheed Martin, (April 9, 2014);
“Lockheed Makes Progress In Its International Expansion With Israeli Unit,” Forbes, (September 18, 2014);
Shamah, David.“Defense giant Lockheed to draw on Hebrew U innovations,” The Times of Israel, (October 6, 2014);
Booth, William. “Israel finally receives the first of its $5 billion order of U.S.-made F-35 jets,” Washington Post, (December 13, 2016);
Israel receives three more F-35 warplanes, YNet News (April 24, 2017);
Lockheed VP: 'There’s a part of Israel in every F-35', DefenseNews, (May 5, 2017)