Israel is considering the purchase of new F-15 fighter jets for its air force as part of the largest defense deal in Israel's history.
The deal with aircraft manufacturer Boeing, worth a combined $11 billion, is likely to include three main components: A fleet of fighter jets, a fleet of transport helicopters and aerial refueling tankers. The two latter components are especially critical because the Israeli Air Force's existing transport helicopters and refueling planes are extremely outdated and require immediate replacement.
Similar to previous aircraft procurement deals in recent decades, Israel will use American defense aid to pay for the fleets. The deal is expected to be spread out over the course of approximately 10 years, starting from the moment the deal is signed and until the last of the aircraft is delivered to Israel.
The Defense Ministry and the IDF have been working to complete this deal for quite some time. The main point of debate surrounded the question of whether to purchase each component from a different manufacturer or all three from the same company – which ultimately came with better payment, supply and maintenance conditions.
Until recently, IDF officials believed the F-35 would be the last manned fighter plane Israel would buy, both to preserve the air force's qualitative edge over other countries in the region and to minimize the types of planes it would have to operate – thereby cutting down on operational expenditures. However, there has been a policy shift and now the plan is to buy another squadron of advanced F-15s, as part of the overall deal with Boeing.
The jet, developed from the original F-15, will be completely new and be known as the IA F-15 (an acronym for Israel Advanced). (end of excerpt)
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