After $38 billion in US aid to Israel was approved, a disagreement between manufacturers is occurring as they understand that a majority of the budget will be allocated towards the Israeli Air Force. So, who will supply the IAF with its future aircraft? Currently at issue are fighter jets, cargo helicopters and aerial refueling aircraft, which total in at around $10 billion.
Behind the scenes, a war between two American aerospace and defense giants, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is occurring: Which one will supply the Israeli Air Force (IAF) with its future aircraft? The contents of the IAF’s so-called shopping cart are worth $10 billion and includes fighter jets, cargo helicopters and aerial refueling aircraft.
After years of refusing to supply aerial refueling aircraft, the US has finally agreed to sell them to Israel. The IAF has requested for 10 of Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus, which is the aerospace giant’s military aerial refueling aircraft. Each one costs $160 million and refuels fighter jets much quicker than its predecessor. The aircraft that were refurbished by Israel Aerospace Industries for the IAF are outdated, but their manufacturing creates jobs within the Israel.
“A majority of our instruments are manufactured in the US,” stated Israeli Air Force Commander Major General Amir Eshel. “You can’t build hospitals or other sorts of things with the dollars that the US provides to Israel in order to strengthen her security.”
The IAF’s third transaction is regarding the Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion, which is 40-years-old and is becoming dangerous to fly. Recently, Lockheed Martin purchased Sikorsky Aircraft and is developing a new Sea Stallion, however, it is very expensive costing $80 million.
“What’s going to happen here in five, 10 or 15 years? There are countries that could capsize,” Eshel said regarding the rising turmoil throughout the Middle East. “We have to take that into account. Even if we have common interests with these countries today, I can’t say what will happen in 10 years and the most relevant response is the IAF.”