IAF F15 fighter jet 311 (R).
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
Due to the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East and potential delays to existing
procurement plans, the IDF is looking at the possibility of purchasing fighter
jets and other platforms used by the United States military in Iraq.
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advantage in purchasing military equipment used by the US in Iraq, a senior IDF
officer explained, was in the price, which would likely be dramatically lower
than buying the same equipment new.
According to the officer, one
possibility under consideration is asking the Americans to purchase fighter jets
– possibly F- 15s – that were used in Iraq.
“The Americans are cutting
their defense budget and are expected to decommission certain aircraft,” the
officer said. “If there is a decision here to increase the defense budget or to
purchase additional fighter jets until the F- 35 arrives later this decade, then
buying the used American planes could become a real possibility,” he
Israel’s concern is that the delivery date for its first batch of
20 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters will be pushed back farther than the 2017 date. A
number of reports recently came out of the Pentagon regarding potential problems
with the development of the aircraft and the possibility that production plans
will be slowed down.
If that happens, Israel could also be asked to pay
more for the aircraft, meaning that it might be asked to add to the $2.75
billion it committed to paying for the 20 F-35s under the 2010 deal, or suffice
with less aircraft.
The IDF has been holding marathon talks with the
Treasury in recent weeks in an effort to reach an agreement regarding the size
of the defense budget for the coming year. While the talks have yet to result in
an agreement, defense sources said they were confident that a resolution would
be reached by the end of the month.
The IDF is claiming that due to the
changes in the region – particularly in Egypt – now is not the time to cut the
defense budget, but rather to increase it in order to enable the military to
build up new formations and capabilities needed to counter future threats.