I just post this here
As expected for some time, Israel proposed a deal to purchase additional advanced F-15Es before procuring more F-35s. They also want their existing
F-15Is to be upgraded to the same standard.:
TheWarzone had a good article about this some time ago, explaining how this decision is not about the F-35
I think its a pretty good call. If you look at their OOB, they have about a squadron of really old F-15A/Bs still in service (alongside even more
F-15C/Ds). All upgraded multiple times of course but with their operational tempo they'll reach the end rather sooner than later, no matter many times
the rebuild them.
They could of course replace them with F-35s of course, but their capabilies dont match exactly (especially not now with the F-35Is just out of IOC)
and its probably now or never for additional F-15s. The production line is sunsetting, this Israeli order if it goes through may very well be the last
F-15s ever build i think.
The Problem they are facing however is to keep their numbers up. The IAF has shrunk rather dramatrically in the recent past and will only shrink
further. They already got rid of their old F-16A/Bs some time ago and the remaining F-16C/Ds arent that far behind either give ntheir operational
tempo. In fact they are already in the process of selling some of them off
) which is a rather perplexing decision.
Of course some of the work is picked up by UAVs of course (the IAF operates well north of fifty weapon capable UAVs) but those also need to replace
their dwindling combat helicopter fleet. They sold their entire inventory of Kiowas to Jordan some three years ago and good knows how long they plan
to keep the AH-64As operational.
So its not surprising that their Ministry of Defense is also exploring other options than airpower to support the troops. Their Minister of Defense
Liebermann pushed through his own pet project recently, equipping the Armys Artillery Corps with theater missiles capable of striking deep inside
enemy territory (excellent article on the subject: www.ynetnews.com...
These measure however dont solve the main issue. The gulf nations are building up their air forces with highly advanced airplanes, Israel alleged
qualitativ advantage has been negated to essentially a handfull of F-35Is at this point. Of course arab air forces are still pretty crappy, as far as
tactics, maintnance, sortie generation rates and so forth and relations with their arab neighbours and with the Gulf States are better than ever, so
this not a short term military problem. But some of those things can change pretty quickly and if they are not carefull, the Israelis might find
themselves lacking fighter jets sooner or later.