New Book: Golan | Lavi: The United States, Israel, and a Controversial Fighter Jet

Golan, John W. Lavi. The United States, Israel, and a Controversial Fighter Jet. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

Lavi

The Lavi fighter program, the largest weapons-development effort ever undertaken by the State of Israel, envisioned a new generation of high-performance aircraft. In a controversial strategy, Israel Aircraft Industries intended to develop and manufacture the fighters in Israel with American financial support. The sophisticated planes, developed in the mid-1980s, were unique in design and intended to make up the majority of the Israeli air force. Though considerable prestige and money were at stake, developmental costs increased and doubts arose as to whether the Lavi could indeed be the warplane it was meant to be. Eventually the program became a microcosm for the ambitions, fears, and internal divisions that shaped both the U.S.-Israeli relationship and Israeli society itself. But the fighter never made it to operational service, and until now, the full breadth and significance of the Lavi story have never been examined and presented.

Lavi: The United States, Israel, and a Controversial Fighter Jet traces the evolution of the Lavi fighter from its genesis in the 1970s to its scrapping in August 1987. John W. Golan examines the roles of Israeli military icons and political leaders such as Ezer Weizman, Ariel Sharon, Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Rabin in the program and in relation to their counterparts in the United States. On the American side, Golan traces the evolution of government policy toward the program, detailing the complex picture of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus and of U.S.-Israeli relations in general—from President Reagan’s public endorsement of the program on the White House lawn to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s unremitting attempts to cancel it in succeeding years.

 

JOHN W. GOLAN has served as a designer, structural analyst, and engineering manager in the U.S. aerospace industry for the last two decades, developing future-generation technology concepts. He has published articles with Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation History, and the Jerusalem Post Magazine.

 

New Article: Rodman, Combined Arms Warfare in the Yom Kippur War

Rodman, David. “Combined Arms Warfare: The Israeli Experience in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.” Defence Studies 15.2 (2015): 161-74.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14702436.2015.1043114

 

Abstract

Traditional combined arms warfare is premised on the assumption that a symmetrical mix of different kinds of units and weapons offers an army the best prospect of achieving optimal results on the battlefield. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been accused by critics over the years of essentially abandoning the practice of traditional combined arms warfare before the 1973 Yom Kippur War in favor of a nontraditional (asymmetrical) variant that relied much too heavily on tanks and aircraft. While this criticism certainly has substantial merit, the IDF’s reverses in the early days of the war were not due solely to a lack of emphasis on traditional combined arms warfare, but rather also to a “perfect storm” of circumstances that obtained at the outset of hostilities. To its credit, the IDF learned rapidly from its prewar mistakes in force structure and war-fighting doctrine, reverting within days to a traditional approach to the practice of combined arms warfare, at least on the ground. Though not a battlefield panacea by any means, traditional combined arms warfare clearly contributed to the IDF’s eventual victory in the war.