Israel intends to bolster its air force with the F-15EX fighter in the context of Iran soon receiving Su-35 from Russia.
The US has received a formal contract for 25 Boeing F-15EX Eagle II fighters from the Israeli Ministry of Defense; the quantity could potentially increase.
The Israeli government last week filed a formal letter of request (LOR) to Washington. The aforementioned paper is the initial phase of the military sales to foreign countries process overseen by the US Department of Defense (DoD), following which quantity and price specifics will be negotiated.
Since 1977, the F-15 Eagle, which was initially manufactured by McDonnell Douglass before the company merged with aerospace giant Boeing, has been in service with the Israeli Air Force (IAF).
The A/B/C/D/I variants of the F-15 are among the 84 aircraft in service with the IAF. With more than 100 victories and no losses in battle, these twin-engine fighters are among the most successful fighters in history. They operate in all types of weather.
It makes sense that Tel Aviv would want to purchase an enhanced version of the F-15EX Eagle II, which is presently being tested by the United States Air Force (USAF), given that the IAF has a lengthy history of using the F-15.
The Israeli government wants to purchase additional Boeing F-15 fighters as well as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II in 2020. The IAF is the only nation having a modified F-35I Adir, a version made specifically for them with cutting-edge avionics, and the first foreign customer of the fifth-generation stealth fighter.
The number of military aircraft in Israel’s fleet is unknown, however it is estimated to number over 600 and include fighters, transport aircraft, and helicopters. The fleet has drastically decreased as a result of recent budget constraints and the requirement to retire certain older aircraft.
The F-16A/B Netz is one among them; it was retired at the end of 2016 after serving for almost 36 years. While some fighters were “transferred” to Canada, others were sold to the US. The aforementioned Fighting Falcons will serve as instructional planes.
Israel now has three squadrons, and although the number of F-16s that have been retired is being replaced by F-35s, the country’s military leaders warned last summer that many fighters are about to retire in the very near future. the IAF will need to continue downsizing if new aircraft are not ordered.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) need to preserve their superiority above given the risks Israel faces in the Middle East, including threats from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme.
Israel must therefore possess the strongest, most capable, and most sophisticated air force in the Middle East. The Lightning II can carry a variety of armaments even when in stealth mode, which helps the F-35, the most technologically advanced fighter in the world, maintain its competitive edge.
The F-15EX is still a good option for the IAF, though. The Eagle II “carries more weapons than any fighter in its class and can launch hypersonic warheads up to 22 feet long and 7,000 pounds in weight,” according to Boeing Corporation.
The IAF can also convert an equivalent number of its F-15I fighters to the same avionics configuration in addition to wishing to purchase 25 F-15EX planes. In a confrontation with an adversary like Iran, it is obvious that the F-15EX and the F-35I can work effectively together, particularly given that Tehran is due to get the Su-35S from Russia.
In stealth mode, the F-35I can strike hard and disable enemy air defence systems, while the F-15EX’s massive arsenal of munitions will “clean up” the battlefield.