Biden Administration Set To Approve 50 F-15 Fighter Jet Sale To Israel Worth $18 Billion

The Biden administration is soon set to approve the sale of 50 F-15 fighter aircraft to Israel, in a deal worth more than $18 billion, CNN reports.

The Biden administration is soon set to approve the sale of 50 F-15 fighter aircraft to Israel, in a deal worth more than $18 billion, CNN reports. This would be the most expensive weapons deal for Israel approved by the US since the outbreak of the war last October.

While the deal is moving forward in Washington, Israel’s Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich announced yesterday that he opposes buying new squadrons of F-15 and F-35 fighter jets because the Ministerial Committee for Examining the Defense Budget has not been convened. Consequently he is refusing the request of the Ministry of Defense to convene the Ministerial Committee for Equipping the Ministry of Defense to discuss the warplane procurement. Even before yesterday’s controversy, “The Washington Post” reported over last weekend that the US Secretary of State had approved the sale of combat jets and F-35 engines for $2.5 billion.

Noam Moskovich Knesset Spokesperson
Smotrich vetoes procurement of new fighter jets.

The F-15 deal will be discussed in Congress amid criticism of the significant amount of aid that US President Joe Biden is sending Israel. So far the administration has taken advantage of the sales threshold that does not require Congress’s approval to supply Israel with what it needs including 155 millimeter shells.

Delivery of the aircraft could be spread over five years

However, the $18 billion sale of fighter aircraft clearly does require approval by Congress. According to the CNN report, the most senior Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, James Risch, has already given his approval for the sale. On the other hand, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, who serves as the Democratic chairman of the committee, could delay matters.

The window of time in which the deal could be delayed is within 30 days from the official update by the Secretary of State. Cardin and his party members could decide to disqualify the deal, which would be blocked but Congress has never before blocked a proposal to sell defense equipment using this method.

In the meantime, unlike shells and armaments, the F-15s will take time to reach Israel. According to estimates of US officials, as long as the delivery procedure is not significantly accelerated, the delivery will continue over at least five years. Along with the planes, the sale includes engines, radars, aircraft navigation systems and a maintenance program for the existing F-15 planes, CNN reported.

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