USAF Thunderbirds…and Israel

Yes, I know…strange title.  But let me explain.

The Phoenix area is home to Luke Air Force Base, where virtually every USAF F-16 pilot is trained.  The F-16 has been the dominant fighter jet in the world since the 1970’s, and the roar of F-16’s in the skies above the western edge of Phoenix is very common.  (A growing fleet of brand new F-35’s, the dominant fighter jet of the future, is now in operation at Luke as well.)

Last weekend friends and I took in the biannual airshow at Luke AFB where we saw some of the best pilots in the most powerful air force on earth exhibit their skills.  The United State Air Force Thunderbirds, the world’s premier precision flying team, flying F-16 fighter jets, put on an unforgettable show.  I’ve seen them roughly 10 times, and each time makes me very proud to be an American.  Here are two short amateur, cell-phone versions of a few seconds of what we witnessed:

But what does that have to do with Israel?  A lot.  But I’ll limit it to only a couple points.  First, the most highly advanced fighter jets are built in America for the US military, and as long as America stands with Israel, they too will have the most highly advanced fighter jets at their disposal.

However, there is another point we shouldn’t miss in all this.  Though America may produce the most highly advanced fighter jets, the Israelis are key developers and producers of the “brains” that make these jets (and other military equipment) the absolute best in the world.  In fact, I’ve heard it said that when Israel orders jets from America, they receive only the “shell,” then proceed to outfit the jet with their own technology!

While in Washington DC for the AIPAC Policy Conference, I learned that the military aid agreements between the US and Israel contain specific clauses relative to the advancement of the avionics, electronics, targeting technology, helmet design, and dozens of other elements that are joint projects of the US and Israel.  Thus, any advancement in technology made by one nation is shared with the other!

It is no secret that Israel is one of the most innovative countries on planet earth.  They are creative and,  in many ways, brilliant.  Take a look at the 3-minute video below with the intentional purpose of noticing the technology behind the helmets, weaponry-guidance systems, and other technological elements included in operating these aircraft in mission-critical scenarios.  Much of that technology came from Israel!

So, why should we stand with Israel?  Many reasons, but a very important one is that the US would be less powerful without our faithful ally in the Middle East!  Stand up for our partnership with Israel!


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