Israel’s Ministry of Defense sent an official request to the United States last week to buy 25 F-15EX fighter jets it approved ordering three years ago, according to the Breaking Defense news site.
The F-15EX jets can be loaded with numerous heavy-weapon systems, capable of hitting Iranian nuclear sites buried deep underground. The purchase of the jets was delayed because of the political uncertainty in Israel created by five general elections in less than four years.
The United States Air Force received its first F-15EX fighter in early 2021 and recently concluded that it “exceeded expectations in terms of number and tonnage of weapons carried,” reported Fox News.
According to Boeing, which produces the fighter jet, the F-15EX “carries more weapons than any other fighter in its class, and can launch hypersonic weapons up to 22 feet long and weigh up to 7,000 pounds.”
The IAF currently has 50 F-15A/B/C/D variants and 25 F-15Is. While the IAF is interested in procuring the F-15EX fighters it is also looking to upgrade its 25 F-15I variants to the same avionic configuration as that of the F-15EX, reported Breaking Defense.
Israel is unlikely to receive the requested jets before 2028, although the state will be pushing for an earlier date, sources told Breaking Defense. Israel sees the acquisition as urgent, amid deepening defense ties between Iran and Russia and Israel's concern that Russia might supply Iran with the advanced S-400 anti-aircraft defense system.
Israel also needs the advanced jets to target Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.
If Israel’s request to purchase the F-15 advanced fighter jets goes through, it will be the first Boeing fighter jet acquisition by Israel in two decades. At the time, Israel procured 100 F-16s and 50 F-35 stealth jets from Boeing’s chief competitor, Lockheed Martin, according to The Times of Israel.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.