Israel Must Choose: F-35 or F-15 (excerpt)
(Source: Globes Israel; posted Jan 05, 2017)
By Yuval Azulai
Boeing and Lockheed Martin are battling for billions of dollars in orders from Israel for fighter jets.

The first two F-35 Adir Stealth warplanes delivered a month ago to the Israeli air force have already performed astonishingly in a few flights in Israeli skies. Their advanced systems are being studied by the pilots and technical crews ahead of the arrival of 38 more F-35s in the coming years. The air force, Ministry of Defense, and US arms companies are now preparing for the next deal, which is also projected to total several billion dollars.

The type of planes to be procured may be decided during the coming year, or during the following year at the latest. The selection will be either an improved version of the Boeing F-15 or a special model of the F-35, Lockheed Martin's flagship plane.

If Israel again selects the Stealth fighter, it will have a third squadron of this 5G aircraft. These planes will probably have capabilities lacking in the F-35s already ordered by Israel from Lockheed Martin: the ability to take off on a runway of only several hundred meters and to land vertically, provided that their fuel tanks do not have much fuel and the planes are not carrying munitions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likes this model, which will enable the air force to operate even under one of Israel's nightmare scenarios, in which air force bases are bombarded by hundreds of rockets sowing destruction on the runways and seriously affecting the ability of warplanes to take off from them.

On the other hand, Boeing is already preparing to go after the billions of dollars that Israel will spend on its new airplane deal. They are offering the air force a new advanced model of the F-15, a twin-engine warplane that the Israeli air force has been using for 40 years.

The new F-15 model purports to make up for its lack of stealth capability with the ability to carry large quantities of various types of munitions, advanced radar, and many other improvements on the earlier models produced in recent decades. Boeing believes that this will make the new F-15 a terrifying flying war machine that will round off several corners for the Israeli air force.

At least in their stealth configuration, the F-35s are limited in the weapons they can carry, because the bombs and missiles they carry are stored in internal munitions boxes in order to lower their radar signature. In the coming years, at least, the types of weapons that the new Stealth fighter can carry are also limited.

Since the Boeing F-15 does not purport to be a stealth aircraft, Boeing has added additional points under the plane's wings for carrying more bombs and missiles. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Globes Israel website.


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