Lockheed Martin opening branch in Israel

(JTA) — Lockheed Martin is opening a technology center in Israel to help build a new center for Israeli military intelligence in the Negev.

The U.S. aerospace defense giant established a joint venture with Israel’s Bynet Data Communications to build the Israeli Defense Forces’ center, known as Project 5/9. The contract is worth about $210 million, according to Israel’s Globes.

Lockheed’s job is to help with “migration,” adapting lines of code written decades ago to advanced computer systems. Its new Israeli center will provide support and maintenance, Globes reported.

“The intention is to establish a local branch of Lockheed Martin in Israel in the field of information systems,” said Lockheed’s vice president for global solutions, Robert Eastman, according to UPI.

Bynet’s CEO said the complexity of the project necessitated hiring Lockheed because no Israeli company knows how to do it.

In April, the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries was hired to build the wings for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Production is scheduled to being in 2015 under the 10-year contract, which could be worth up to $2.5 billion, UPI reported.

Israel Aerospace Industries already produces wings for the Lockheed-produced F-16 and the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 trainer aircraft.