F-15EX Eagle II: The U.S. 'Missile Truck' Israel's Air Force Wants

F-15EX Eagle II U.S. Air Force

F-15EX Eagle II: The U.S. 'Missile Truck' Israel's Air Force Wants

The F-15EX Eagle II offers unmatched payload capacity and speed, carrying up to 12 air-to-air missiles and potentially more with 'Amber Racks.'

 

Summary and Key Points: The F-35I “Adir” and the F-15EX II are both crucial to Israel's military capabilities. The U.S. has approved the sale of an additional 25 F-35I fighters to Israel, enhancing their defensive and offensive operations.

F-15EX Eagle II

 

-Additionally, Israel has shown interest in acquiring up to 50 F-15EX II fighters, valued at around $18 billion.

-The F-15EX Eagle II offers unmatched payload capacity and speed, carrying up to 12 air-to-air missiles and potentially more with 'Amber Racks.'

-These capabilities make the F-15EX II valuable for Israel, especially considering its strategic needs and the current conflict with regional adversaries.

-The delivery of these fighters would take time as they need to be constructed from scratch, and Israel is pushing for an expedited timeline.

How the F-15EX II Enhances Israel's Air Superiority

The F-35I “Adir” variant recently made headlines when the U.S. green-lit selling an additional 25 fighters to Israel. Arguably the most formidable fifth-generation platform in service, the custom Israeli variant has proven to be a significant component of the country’s defensive and offensive efforts against regional adversaries. 

While Israel’s desire for additional Adir jets is understandable, Jerusalem has also expressed interest in another American platform – the F-15EX II. Earlier this year, it was reported that the White House was close to approving the sale of as many as 50 of these fighters to Israel in a deal that could be worth around $18 billion. 

While the new Eagle variant lacks the stealth of the Lightning II, it is unmatched in payload capacity and speed. Considering Israel’s position – surrounded by hostile adversaries and engulfed in a major war – procuring these fighters is very important for the Israeli Air Force.

Israel already flies a specialized version of the F-15 Eagle known in Hebrew as the “Baz,” or “Falcon.” These jets were first delivered to Israel back in the 1970s. If the White House does sign off on an Eagle II deal with Jerusalem, it will mark the first Boeing jet acquisition by the IAF in more than a couple decades. 

Why Would the F-15EX II Be Valuable for the IAF?

The F-15EX Eagle II fighter broke key records for quantity and tonnage of weapons carried earlier this year when it was able to launch up to 12 air-to-air missiles in flight. Comparably, the F-16 Fighting Falcon can carry half this load, while the F-35 Lightning II is limited to a mere four AIM-120s internally. 

According to The War Zone, “There is a concept for the F-15 family that employs 'Amber Racks' that could expand the F-15EX's air-to-air missile capability even further, with up to 22 existing air-to-air missiles (AIM-9X and AIM-120) being carried at one time.” 

F-15EX Eagle II

Additionally, the F-15EX Eagle II can be equipped with more than 13.5 tons of weapons, a much greater amount than its predecessors. 

In terms of avionics and sensors, the F-15EX features the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System, an Electronic Warfare suite that enhances survivability and mission effectiveness.

Since Hamas’s October 7 massacre, the IAF has deployed its fleet of F-35I Adir fighters extensively to strike terror assets. Considering the Eagle II’s unprecedented payload, this variant would be warmly welcomed by Israeli pilots. 

Unlike other weapons delivered to the Jewish state from the U.S., the F-15EX Eagle IIs would need to be constructed from scratch and would therefore not reach Israel for quite some time. Israeli officials have been urging the U.S. to expedite the timeline, according to news reports. If and until Congress green-lights the sale of these Eagle II fighters to the IAF, the State Department will be unable to confirm the potential deal.

About the Author: Maya Carlin 

Maya Carlin, National Security Writer with The National Interest, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin. '

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