Israeli air force leaning toward upgraded F-15 over F-35 for next fighter jet acquisition
The rapid aging of the IAF's current fleet makes the new purchases necessary
Click Like to Follow Fliegerfaust Facebook page to get the News ASAP / Share to share this post now.
Amos Harel Jan 30, 2018 9:18 PM- Haaretz
The Israel Air Force is to decide in a few months between purchasing a third squadron of F-35 fighter jets or the F-15I, which, while less advanced, has other advantages.
The acquisition requires the approval of the General Staff and a ministerial committee, but the recommendation of the air force generally carries the day.
IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, who reportedly is leaning toward the F-15, is to submit a recommendation in May.
Israel and the United States agreed last year on the purchase of 50 F-35 fighters, two squadrons, from Lockheed Martin, with delivery completed by 2024.
But in order employ its stealth capabilities, the F-35 must fly with its bombs inside the plane's belly, which limits its carrying capacity. If the bombs are carried on the outside of the plane, its stealth capabilities are impaired.
The F-15, though older, has two advantages over the F-35: a longer flight range and the ability to carry larger bombs. Another factor in its favor is that it's built on a different platform, which means the air force would have a mix of planes rather than relying on a single model.