Israel and the United States have begun talks on a potential procurement deal for 25 new F-15EX fighter jets, manufactured by Boeing, according to report by News 12.
The Ministry of Defense submitted an official letter of request to the U.S. government to quickly approve the sale of the fighter jets. The goal of the transaction is to double the capabilities of the Israeli Air Force in the next decade and establish its strength against potential threats from Iran.
The request letter is considered the first step in the sale process, and negotiations are now underway on details such as the number of planes and their price. The Air Force wants to purchase 25 new aircraft and upgrade 25 existing F-15i aircraft.
However, it is expected that the deal will take a long time, with the first F-15EX models expected to arrive in Israel only in 2028. Israel may also ask the US to shorten the timelines.
The current fleet of F-15 aircraft is getting old, with some Israeli planes being 40 years old.
The decision to purchase additional aircraft is based on the assumption that in future combat scenarios, the targets of attack in Iran and other places in the Middle East will be more protected and will include the use of advanced air defense systems. These scenarios would require a first wave of state-of-the-art F-35s to neutralize the air defense systems, followed by improved F-15EXs that can carry large amounts of weapons and bombs to destroy enemy targets, according to the News 12 report.
The F-15EX while non-stealthy, can deploy hypersonic weapons as well as heavier bombs.
Israel’s need for improved aircraft models is becoming increasingly urgent amid reports that Moscow may sell air defense systems to Iran, which plans to deploy them to protect its nuclear sites, along with dubious claims that Iran has developed a missile capable of downing the F-35.