Israel is likely to buy a squadron of Boeing's upgraded F-15s and also has plans to buy either Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin's CH-53 K helicopters or Boeing's CH-47 Chinook.
Most of the funds for the procurement will come from $3.33 billion US aid allocated for the F-35 projects and missile inventory, Globes reported today.
Israel is preparing for two major deals with the US, including the procurement of aircraft designed to renew its stock of warplanes and transportation helicopters. It has been decided to purchase two air force squadrons, following the establishment of a squadron of F-35 Adir stealth aircraft.
The IDF received its first F-35s in December. The exact budget for buying the planes will become clear only after the budget is divided in the framework of the Gideon multi-year plan and the beginning of implementation of the new aid agreement in 2018.
For a long time, the air force wanted to replace its F-15s, manufactured by Boeing, with a better version of the aircraft equipped with an advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system. The aircraft does not have stealth capabilities, but it can carry larger payloads and has advanced attack capabilities. Further, it can be operated by a two-man crew, which is an advantage in complex missions. Moreover, the twin-engine warplane can continue operating even when one of the engines is disabled.
The new F-15s cost $100 million a plane. They are more advanced than the F-15s purchased from the US by Saudi Arabia and Qatar in recent years. Former senior air force officers explained that the assessment of the new F-15s is based on the belief that the IDF cannot rely on only one type of plane.
Another transportation helicopter being considered by the IDF is the CH-47 Chinook, Boeing's veteran transportation helicopter. The difference in price between Lockheed Martin's helicopter and that of Boeing is estimated at one third, however, the final cost depends on the demand for it from foreign armies.
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