WASHINGTON (Jan. 30)
The 75 F-16 lighter planes that Israel has ordered from the United States will be in Israel’s possession by October, 1981 instead of in 1984 or 1985 as originally expected. The advance in the delivery date was noted today by the Pentagon and General Dynamics Corp., manufacturer of the jet combat plane. It was made possible because the Israeli government picked up the contract for 55 of the aircraft which the U.S. had made with Iran but which was cancelled after the revolution in that country last year.
The Pentagon and General Dynamics also disclosed that the first of the 75 aircraft “currently contracted” will be turned over to the Israel Air Force tomorrow of Fort Worth, Tex. The single F-16 will be piloted by Brig. Gen. Amos Lapidot of the Israel-Air Force and U.S. Air Force Maj. H. W. Powly on a flight to Hill Air Force Base in Urah for training Israeli pilots. The number of Israeli pilots at the Utah air base was not disclosed.