Israel may need to decide between acquiring additional F-35s from Lockheed Martin or the modernized F-15IA, which according to Boeing is similar to the soup-ed F-15EX.
Thom Breckenridge, a Boeing executive told National Defense Magazine that Israel is still showing interest on the F-15IA and that a simulator was brought to the country this month.
Actually, the country has been mulling over a decision to acquire the fighter jet using military assistance funding from the US. However, Israeli Air Force (IAF) may need to decide between acquiring additional F-35s from Lockheed Martin or the modernized variant of the F-15, which according to Boeing is similar to the soup-ed F-15EX — that the company plans to sell to the U.S. military — but also includes several Israeli subsystems, according to the company.
“The payload that it brings, the range, the persistence, those are all characteristics that are certainly unique,” Breckenridge said at the Dubai Air Show.
He added that “Boeing is hopeful that there’ll be a decision in the near future,” although Israel has not announced when it will make an acquisition decision.
As previously reported, Boeing recently invested $5 billion on upgrades such as a new fly-by-wire capability and core processor for the F-15 fleet.
There has been “a lot of very advanced new capabilities as part of the F-15 that we had a lot of interest in internationally,” Breckenridge pointed out.
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has been moving forward with plans to purchase the F-15EX, sparking conversations about the platform with international partners, although, as we have recently explained, the service has warned Congress that extending the current continuing resolution (CR) will delay the production of the aircraft. Pushing back F-15EX would also mean sustaining the F-15C fleet longer than planned, incurring added extensive maintenance actions due to structural health issues.
Furthermore, Boeing has had talks with potential Middle Eastern customers at the air show regarding its F/A-18 Super Hornet, Breckenridge said.
“Without getting into the specifics of the countries, we have had some conversations this week about the platform in this region,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. And we have conversations all over the world about our capabilities.”
Kuwait is already a Super Hornet buyer, he noted. In 2018, the country signed a contract with Boeing for 28 F/A-18E/F jets.
The Super Hornet is also in the running in a competition to replace Canada’s 35-year-old CF-18 fighters.
Breckenridge touted the affordability of the system, saying the platform has “the lowest cost per flight hour of any fighter in the U.S. government’s inventory.”
Photo credit: Boeing