Israel orders 50 aircraft from the US – 25 F-35s and 25 F-15EXs

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Reports emerging from Israel indicate plans for the acquisition of 25 additional F-35 stealth fighters and 25 F-15EX fighters. These reports come from Mako, a local media outlet, which stated that the agreement was concluded on Thursday, January 25th. Notably, this is the most extensive agreement since the onset of the Gaza conflict. 

Photo credit: USAF

Imagine the scene: while the war rages on, Israel embarks on a massive arms deal with the United States – a story Mako broke on Thursday evening. In exchange for a broad range of aircraft and significant quantities of ammunition, this is a pivotal moment. 

Not only is this agreement monumental in its scope amidst the ongoing Gaza war, but it also occurs as conflicts persist in the north. This noteworthy agreement was concluded in Washington on the final day of discussions. Representatives from the Ministry of Defense – notably Major General Eyal Zamir, the director-general, and Major General Eyal Harel, the head of the IDF’s planning department – formally inked the deal in the company of their American counterparts. 

What is Israel buying? 

Following the sealing of a deal and subsequent request, we’ve learned that Israel has its sights set on acquiring 25 F-35 stealth fighters, 25 custom-tailored F-15EX IA fighters, a dozen KH-64 Apache assault helicopters, and a considerable batch of ammunition. 

In a tweet by Colby Badhwar, a Security Analyst for Insider, he mentions letters sent last year signaling the desire for the F-35 and F-15, fresh off the assembly line. Moreover, Israel is putting in a request to the US Air Force, hoping they might relinquish their entitlement to Boeing F-15 assembly slots, to expedite the completion of their order. 

Photo credit: The Drive

Initial assertions suggested that the Letter of Acceptance [LoA] was already taken care of, only for The Times of Israel to correct the record stating the LoA remains unsigned. As for the Apaches, it’s uncertain whether they’ll be fresh from the factory or if they’re to be sourced from the US military. The ammunition shipment, however, is confirmed to be supplied out of the Department of Defense’s reserves. 

F-15EX outside the US 

In a formidable first, Israel is set to become the inaugural nation outside of US borders to welcome the superior Boeing-manufactured F15 IA: a model mirroring the US’ F-15EX. 

Photo by Jerry McGrath

In a bid to underscore the urgency, Israel has appealed for precedence in the production sequence. If approved, this could potentially compromise supplies destined for the US military, as Israel would be entitled to receive before them. Notably, the pooled Apaches that Israel will score are also products of Boeing’s craftsmanship, alongside the F35s, which are the brainchild of Lockheed Martin. 

The transaction has successfully reached its conclusion, guaranteeing the swift dispatch of the planes. The armaments are anticipated to touch down within the span of a few days. Illustrating the importance of this deal, members of the Israeli delegation stressed that this arrangement is nothing short of monumental. Yet, such groundbreaking deals still hinge on the green light from a committee of ministers. 

Photo by Mikaela Maschmeier

Israel wants priority 

In light of the progressing conflict and the looming threat of a multi-arena war, Israel is reaching out to the United States, urging it to accord precedence to its resource supplies. This strategic move will afford Israel the much-needed respite during this challenging period. 

The chief of staff, Lt. Col. Herzi Halevi, during his address to the reserve commanders at Khan Yunis, acknowledged the strenuous nature of the war. He stated, “A sincere gratitude to you all. Something monumental is transpiring here. With an intensive web of complications per square kilometer, high-rise establishments, densely-populated areas, formidable adversaries, underground networks, combined with multiple gangs, sharpshooters, and instances of sabotage, it’s safe to conclude that the intensity of our battles is considerably elevated. This implies an unwavering spirit, exceptional commanding and leadership qualities, and unparalleled soldier prowess.” 

Halevi further expressed his sentiments about the reservists, saying, “The inclusion of reservists presents a remarkable advantage, mainly due to their substantial experience and quick adaptability to new and challenging circumstances. Instead of persistently hitting the same old wall, their involvement aids in discovering alternative solutions. This has been palpably evident during my visits, and I must say, the sight is indeed impressive. So, I convey to everyone, with absolute certainty, a triple affirmation – immense gratitude to you and all your underlings, for the extraordinary feats.” 

Photo by USAF, Matthew Plew

Firmly putting his stance across, Halevi adds, “The battle isn’t over until all our men are safe, and each one of those men is taken care of. Even after that, we’ll resume our fight. They must go home knowing they need to return rejuvenated, and together, we’ll manage all future endeavors.”

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