Israel intends to buy 50 F-15EX fighters

By Arie Egozi

Israel made a decision to try and get the funding for the purchase of 50 Boeing F-15EX. The LOR for the purchase of 25 of the type was released some weeks ago. Now, so it seems the operational request will be doubled. The indications about the change of the Israel plans were given during the visit in Israel earlier this week of Ted Colbert, president & CEO of Boeing Defence, Space & Security.

The signals about an Israeli decision to purchase 50, not 25 F-15 EX cannot be directly related to the fact that inspectors found 84% enriched Uranium while visiting Iranian nuclear sites.

Colbert met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visited an Israeli air force base where the current fleet of F-15 Is operated.

Only recently, the Israeli Ministry of Defense issued the letter of request (LOR) for 25 F-15EX fighter.

On that occasion the first indications were given that the target is to increase the number to 50. Now these indications have surfaced again.

The Israeli airforce (IAF) has expressed its urgent need for more F-15 that can be loaded with some types of weapon systems developed in Israel, that are tailored to destroy “hardened ” targets like the Iranian nuclear sites.

The F-15EX carries more weapons than any other fighter in its class, and can launch hypersonic weapons up to 22 feet long and up to 7,000 pounds.

The IAF hopes that, in addition to its F-15EX buy, it can upgrade its 25 F-15I’s to the same avionic configuration of the F-15EX, minus the fly by wire system. However, the Israeli defense source said that budget limitations may affect the “scope” of the F-15I planned upgrade. The IAF operates a mix of 50 F-15A/B/C/D designs, as well as the 25 F-15I.

So now there are more indications that Israel decided to go for 50 F-15EX.

The problem is double–delivery dates and budget.

Sources here say that this issue will be discussed in the coming months in meetings between American and Israeli teams in an effort to come up with some solution.



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