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Biden Rewards Israel With 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion

The administration of US President Joe Biden is close to finalizing a sale of 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion to Israel. In January 2023, in response to a request from the Israeli Air Force (IAF), the Jewish country confirmed its intention to purchase twenty-five F-15EX “Eagle 2” fighter jets, also known as “F-15IA Ra’am II” in Israeli terminology, from American manufacturer Boeing and to upgrade twenty-five old F-15Is to this standard, without going so far as to equip them with fly-by-wire controls. In addition, ordering twenty-five more F-35I “Adir” fighter bombers was considered for an estimated $3 billion. Official requests were then routed to Washington.

Since then, Hamas’ terrorist strike on October 7 of last year, as well as Israel’s reprisal, have relegated these projects to the background. Furthermore, despite their continuous backing for Israel, the US abstained from voting on a resolution on the Gaza war on March 25, allowing it to be adopted. The resolution calls for an “immediate truce during Ramadan.”

Thus, Washington has implied that its backing for the Hebrew State is not unconditional and that the latter’s reaction against Hamas has gone too far. Despite its differences with the Israeli stand, CNN and Reuters reported on April 1, citing sources close to the matter, that the US administration is set to authorize the sale of fifty F-15EX “Eagle 2” fighters to Israel.

Before the Defense Security Cooperation (DSCA), the agency in charge of processing requests for the purchase of American military equipment via the FMS (Foreign Military Sales) procedure, publishes a notice inviting authorization for this potential sale, President Biden’s administration took a reading of the most powerful members of Congress.

According to CNN, Republican Michael McCaul, the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has cleared the proposed deal. However, his Senate colleague, Democrat Ben Cardin, is thought to be more hesitant to offer his approval.

The Israeli proposal is to purchase fifty F-15EX “Eagle 2” aircraft, engines, spare components, maintenance, and operational support. The contract would also include the mid-life modernization of the IAF’s twenty-five F-15Is, which will not be delivered for five years.

The F-15EX “Eagle II” has two new F110-GE-129 engines, an active electronically scanned array [AESA] APG-82(V)1 radar, an IRST sensor, an EPAWSS (Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability) electronic warfare suite, an ADCP-II [Advanced Display Core Processor-II] mission computer, a digital cockpit, and a data link that allows it to communicate with the F-35.

CNN claims that the Biden administration has discreetly approved the delivery of the twenty-five more F-35Is requested by the IAF. According to the sources, Congress does not need to be informed of this sale because it was already notified in 2008.



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