Thank you for that introduction, General Gilead.
And I thank you for your invitation to speak at this important event.
It is an honor to be here to represent Lockheed Martin at the 2019 Herzliya Conference.
For 19 years, this conference has served as Israel’s premier gathering for policy discussions.
Here, leaders from government, industry, and academia come together to listen, learn, and seek insights into the challenges we will face in the months and years ahead.
The result is a conference that encourages the free and bold exchange of ideas, innovative thinking and reforms, and cooperative efforts and action that can strengthen security, expand opportunity and build a brighter future for Israel and its people.
At Lockheed Martin, we are deeply committed to this mission – and we appreciate being part of this important dialogue and the discussions that take place here.
The theme for this year’s conference is “Navigating Stormy Waters – Time for a New Course.”
It is a fitting theme with a well-chosen metaphor.
“Navigating Stormy Waters” aptly describes the magnitude of the forces and the dynamic nature of 21st century geopolitics.
The second half of the theme is also helpful. “Time for a New Course” is a recognition that we stand at a historic moment. To effectively navigate the stormy waters before us, we must carefully choose where to go next.
So, in the spirit of this conference and its theme, this morning, I want to talk about the nature of the “stormy waters” we face, the lessons from history for how we successfully confronted such threats in the past, and why we must embrace new technologies that can help us navigate the challenges before us.
A World of Increasing Unpredictability
As we look out at the hard geopolitical realities of the 21st century, the range of challenges faced by free and lawful nations are growing. All around the world, security threats are multiplying in every domain – on land, at sea, in the air, in space, and in the cyber realm.
These threats are increasingly unpredictable and volatile.
They can be well-choreographed and sustained, coming from nations seeking regional power or global influence.
They can be focused on specific strategic choke points. Or they can strike citizens as they go about the business of their daily lives.
They can be asymmetric, coming from non-state actors, united by ideology or religious extremism.
Regardless of where these threats originate, they increasingly carry tremendous costs and consequences beyond where they first hit.
The broad range of today’s security threats can take the lives of civilians and servicemembers, cost nations hundreds of millions of dollars, undermine confidence in capital markets and infrastructure, and even unleash international humanitarian crises that defy borders.
Lessons of History
No nation and no people understand these hard realities better than the State of Israel.
Israel was born in the midst of unpredictability and chaos. Since 1948, Israel has had to face a wide range of threats coming from a wide array of adversaries. And over the past 71 years the Israeli people have risen to meet one challenge after another to defend freedom, life, community, and hope.
The State and the people of Israel have repeatedly shown how to navigate “stormy waters” through boldness, ingenuity, and a decisive commitment to new technologies and ways of thinking.
At the center of these efforts are the Israel Defense Forces whose history echoes with daring and innovation.
At Lockheed Martin, we have been proud to play a role in many of the most crucial military operations in Israel’s history.
Our partnership goes back more than seven decades to Israel’s War of Independence.
In late 1947, the clouds of war were gathering. In the shadow of the Holocaust Jewish leaders knew that they faced a host of mortal threats, so they had to prepare to defend themselves.
One of the extraordinary people they turned to was a former Lockheed engineer named Al Schwimmer.
Schwimmer was given the task to help the Haganah acquire aircraft. Schwimmer decided to go after one of the most versatile, innovative, and proven aircraft in the world the Lockheed Constellation.
The Constellation, or “Connie,” was originally designed for commercial passenger use.
In fact, it was the first civilian airliner with a pressurized cabin which allowed it to fly faster and higher at altitudes where disruptive and unpredictable weather patterns could be avoided.
Soon after the Constellation Was first put into service, World War II began. The U.S. Army Air Forces began using the Constellation as a long-distance transport aircraft for troops and supplies. They designated it the C-69.
After the war was won, many Connies returned to commercial service. But some were sent to scrap yards and surplus bases.
Schwimmer knew this.
And he also knew the plane’s proven capabilities and mission flexibility would be incredibly useful to Israel.
So, he acted decisively. He quickly acquired three Constellations. He then recruited a small team to re-fit and re-furbish them. And in just a few months, they had the Connies in working order.
Under the guise of a Panamanian airline Schwimmer and his team smuggled the aircraft to Central America and across the Atlantic. The Connies then passed through Eastern Europe and on to Israel.
The Lockheed Constellation became a critical part of Israel’s first air force. And their contributions in the air were vital in Israel’s quest to win independence.
That wasn’t the last time our company’s products supported Israel’s safety and security. Two decades later, our aircraft played a key part in The War of Attrition.
In 1969, Egyptian forces were becoming more formidable through new technologies. New radars were enabling Egypt to detect Israeli aircraft with increasing frequency thwarting Israeli air strikes in enemy territory.
Through extensive reconnaissance missions the Israel Defense Forces located a critical Egyptian radar installation. So, the Israeli Air Force prepared to launch an airstrike. But just before the operation commenced another idea was put forward.
What if, instead of destroying the radars, the IDF captured them?
Planning for Operation Rooster-53 began.
Among the aircraft selected to execute this mission was the new Sikorsky CH-53 Ya’sur.
The CH-53 Ya’sur helicopters were a leap forward for the IAF, with their augmented payload capacity, increased maneuverability, and robust airframes.
On the evening of December 26, 1969, the IAF launched a diversion operation along the Suez Canal.
Then Israeli paratroopers infiltrated the critical radar site. The troops disassembled the station. And the CH-53s were called in to transport the radar back to Israel.
As a result of capturing this equipment, the IAF was able to gain intelligence on the enemy’s capabilities and create countermeasures and ultimately, regain air superiority.
To this day, the CH-53 continues to carry soldiers and equipment, conduct secret operations, and perform search and rescue missions for the IAF.
In fact, we recently celebrated the 50-year anniversary of Ya’sur operations.
The final story of heroism I’ll share today is one we at Lockheed Martin are especially proud of.
In June 1976, terrorists forced an Air France flight en route from Tel Aviv to Paris to land in Entebbe, Uganda. The hijackers demanded the release of convicted terrorists in Israeli custody.
They quickly released most of the passengers but refused to release the 105 Jewish people and Israelis who were on board. The Israeli government entered into negotiations with the terrorists.
At the same time, the IDF began planning an elaborate operation to save the captives. Mossad collected extensive intelligence on the airport, the hijackers, and the location of the hostages.
This critical information was used to formulate a daring plan to infiltrate the airfield and rescue the captured passengers.
On July 4, a week after the Air France flight had landed in Uganda four Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft took off from Israel with 100 Israeli troops. Almost eight hours later, under the cover of nightfall, the C-130s touched down at the Entebbe airfield.
Some of the troops were tasked with refueling the C-130s for the first leg of their long journey home.
Another group set out to destroy Ugandan fighter jets that were onsite to ensure they could not be pursued.
And one 29-man unit was tasked with finding and rescuing the hostages.
In just under one hour each of the task forces had completed its distinct mission.
All but three hostages were safe.
And all but one Israeli soldier made it out alive.
We are honored that one of the brave men who helped lead that mission then-Lt. Col. Joshua Shani now leads Lockheed Martin Israel.
We are also proud that the IAF continues to operate the C-130, more than 40 years later.
Today, IAF pilots are flying the newest variant, the C-130J. The Shimshon, as it is called by the Air Force, is relied upon for everything from transport, to aerial refueling, to humanitarian relief missions.
At our company, we’re proud of the impact these Lockheed Martin technologies, the C-69, the CH-53, and the C-130, have had in protecting the lives of the soldiers, the airmen, and the citizens of Israel in each of these operations.
We also see a consistent lesson in every one of these heroic stories.
Time and time again, innovative and flexible technologies proved to be the key to reinforcing and amplifying Israeli courage, ingenuity, and daring. In each case, Israeli leaders sought to provide the best technology available – to give the IDF, and especially the Air Force, the speed, power, flexibility, and survivability to save lives.
The Need for New Technologies
As we consider the wide-ranging nature of 21st century threats, it is imperative that we apply these lessons from history.
To navigate stormy waters and to chart a new course we must embrace new technologies and capabilities that turn the unpredictable into the predictable, that provide leaders and policymakers with decisive strategic tools, and that strengthen the integrated capabilities of a nation’s entire armed forces.
When it comes to fulfilling these mission parameters, no platform is better positioned or more capable than the F-35 “Adir" the “Mighty One.”
Here in Israel, the IAF is proving that the F-35 is not simply another aircraft added to a nation’s air force. The F-35 brings together, leverages, and strengthens the armed forces of the entire nation.
The IAF has long been at the frontier of discovering what the F-35 can do. They’ve been a key participant in the program for 10 years. And the IAF was the first in the world to fly the aircraft in combat operations.
The IAF is also at the forefront of developing maintenance procedures, tactical applications, and operational techniques. And IAF service members continue to generously share their experiences and lessons learned with allied nations across the globe.
From the prime minister and airmen to citizens and soldiers looking for hope in the sky, Israelis have seen the unrivalled capabilities of the F-35.
Israel understands that the Mighty One is a game changer, an integrator, and a force multiplier.
First and foremost, the F-35 provides game-changing survivability.
The F-35 “Adir” can go where no fourth-generation aircraft can go. And it can engage at distances and with accuracy far beyond the reach of legacy aircraft.
Its combination of speed and stealth capabilities, combined with advanced countermeasures and electronic-attack capabilities, enable the F-35 to overcome increasingly sophisticated defenses and provide an asymmetric impact.
The F-35 effectively expands the battlespace and transforms the definition of air dominance.
These abilities make the Adir more than a deterrent. The “Mighty One” gives senior government and military leaders a decisive strategic tool. It is truly a game changer.
Another key strength of the F-35 is its role as an integrator.
The F-35 has the capability to merge information from its advanced sensors and avionics. And it can fuse information from multiple domains across the battlespace which it then presents to the pilot as intelligible and actionable information.
One U.S. Marine Corps pilot explained the advantage this provides, saying:
“The F-35 effectively and seamlessly integrates information to tell me what’s going on around me – and not just from the radio frequency spectrum but laser, infrared, and electro-optical systems. That’s usually the first thing pilots notice when they get in the airplane. They know so much more than they ever knew before.”
This sensor fusion and data processing is not limited to the Adir’s pilot.
The F-35 can serve as a central node in contested battlespace directing other assets, enhancing communication, and enabling cooperative efforts to eliminate threats.
This makes the F-35 an unrivalled force multiplier.
Because of its ability to share the information it gathers, the F-35 gives a clearer picture of the battlespace in the air, at sea, and on the ground enabling faster decision making.
This, in turn, makes every aircraft and every part of a nation’s fighting force better protected and more lethal to an adversary.
In addition, the F-35’s ability to integrate and work with other systems also gives it greater potential as threats evolve and new technologies arrive in the battlespace. For instance, the F-35 has already proven its value as an elevated sensor for coordinating advanced air and missile defense systems.
And with C4I technology integrated into the Adir fighters, the F-35 is particularly critical to countering Hezbollah’s vast rocket threat through rapid identification and prioritization of targets for the IAF.
Finally, the F-35 has shown the flexibility the IAF and the IDF have prized and maximized throughout their history. Missions traditionally performed by specialized aircraft air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, electronic attack, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance can now be executed by a squadron of F-35s.
In the early phases of a conflict, F-35s can fly as the first fighters to penetrate contested airspace and destroy multiple air and ground threats. This then clears the way for the F-35 to enter the battlespace carrying up to 18,000 pounds of internal and external ordnance, in a mix that can include 5,000-pound-class weapons and beyond.
In short, nothing equals the F-35 Adir in providing information and options in the modern Israeli battlespace. The F-35 takes the world of multi-domain threats and harnesses the multi-domain assets of the IDF to protect lives.
This creates a collective umbrella that enables the Israeli people to walk the streets of Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem in safety and security.
The Importance of Every Life
At Lockheed Martin, we know that the true strength of the Israel Defense Forces lies in its brave men and women.
In visit after visit to Israel, I am always inspired and always moved by how deeply the people of Israel mourn the loss of every individual life. There is a spirit and a sense of community that is unique to the State of Israel.
General Norkin expressed this well when he said:
“The connection between the commanders and the families, between the service members in every squadron and their fallen friends’ stories, is an inseparable part of the IAF's glorious legacy.”
At Lockheed Martin, we recognize this special quality of the Israeli heart and mindset. And we see our technologies and capabilities as a way to keep Israeli troops – and citizens – safe.
That’s why we are always striving to provide the very best technologies and capabilities to protect lives.
We know that in Israel, every leader in government and in the military takes this mission personally.
Safety and survivability are fundamental to how every technology and capability is viewed.
Into this environment of increasing threats, the F-35 has inaugurated a new era of fifth-generation air power It gives the IAF the only survivable aircraft that can protect Israeli airmen in contested environments throughout the region.
And with the F-35’s sensors and processing power Israeli soldiers are getting better information and better protection from the skies than ever before.
As we look to the future, we at Lockheed Martin are committed to bringing more cutting-edge capabilities to Israel like the CH-53K, “King Stallion,” which combines more power, durability, and speed than has ever been seen in a combat helicopter.
That means increased survivability, greater flexibility, and more options for the IAF and the IDF.
Once again, on behalf of the men and women of Lockheed Martin, I thank the leaders of Israel for the trust you put in our company.
We know that the stormy waters ahead will be a challenge.
We also know from history the course we must take. We must choose aircraft and technologies that give those serving in harm’s way the capabilities to shape events and define the future.
Together, for more than 70 years, we have proven, and we will continue to prove, that boldness, ingenuity, and daring can protect the people of Israel and ensure peace, progress, and a bright future for the entire nation.
Thank you for your kind attention.
# # #