Israel advancing deals with US to purchase fighter jets, attack helicopters and munitions

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

IAF F-F15s take part in an independence day flyby in Tel Aviv  on April 26, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
IAF F-F15s take part in an independence day flyby in Tel Aviv on April 26, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

Amid Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and fighting against other Iran-backed proxy groups in the Middle East, Israeli defense officials are advancing a number of key defense deals with the United States, which would see the country procure new fighter jets, attack helicopters and a continued supply of munitions.

Earlier today, Defense Ministry Director General Eyal Zamir wrapped up a working visit to Washington, DC, during which he met with senior Defense and State Department officials, as well as executives from major US defense companies to discuss the advancement of the deals.

Defense sources say Israel’s plans to procure a new squadron of 25 F35i stealth fighter jets, a squadron of 25 F-15IA fighter jets — the Israeli variant of the advanced F-15EX — and a squadron of 12 Apache helicopters were advanced during the discussions.

The deals, some of which have been previously published, have not yet been signed, despite a report by Channel 12 news this evening claiming so.

Last year, Israel submitted formal requests to the US regarding the procurement of the F-35 fighters and F-15 jets.

The procurement of the Apache helicopters comes following lessons learned from Hamas’s October 7 attack and the fighting in the Gaza Strip, according to defense sources.

There is no timeline for the delivery of the fighter jets and helicopters, and previous such deals have taken several years for the first aircraft to be shipped.

Also as part of the discussions, the Defense Ministry delegation worked to advance the continued supply of American munitions amid the war.

At least 250 cargo planes and more than 20 ships have delivered more than 10,000 tons of armaments and military equipment to Israel since the start of the war.

For the deals to be advanced further and signed, they require government approval, a move that defense sources say may occur within the next few weeks.

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