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After OKing UAE F-35s, Israel Asks For F-22 Raptors—Here’s Why That’s Not Likely To Fly

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After OKing UAE F-35s, Israel Asks For F-22 Raptors—Here’s Why That’s Not Likely To Fly
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Following earlier Israeli objections to the sale of Lockheed LMT -1.7% F-35 Lightning II stealth jets to the United Arab Emirates, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz reportedly relented and accepted the sale following a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper last Friday.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, senior Israeli defense officials subsequently sought compensation: “removing obstacles” to purchasing older F-22 Raptor stealth fighters designed for greater air-to-air combat capability than the F-35.

The report notes, however, such a sale is “currently not on the table.” And it will likely remain that way because the F-22 is no longer in production, and the U.S. Air Force—the type’s only operator—is unlikely to want to give up aircraft from its own fleet.

Despite reaching an accord in August normalizing relations with the United Arab Emirates, Israeli officials initially objected to the Arab state receiving stealth fighters of the same type serving in the Israeli Air Force, citing a U.S. law requiring that Israel must be allowed to purchase equipment guaranteeing a “qualitative military edge” over other states in the Middle East.

Already, Israel requested up to $8 billion in arms sales in the wake of the peace accords. However, after acceding to the F-35 sale to UAE, Gantz reportedly renewed a long-standing Israeli request to authorize F-22 exports.

Israel’s prior requests for F-22s were blocked due to the 1998 Obey Amendment, which specifically banned the export of F-22s. The amendment was spurred by reports of Israeli transfers of U.S. aerospace technology to China.

However, that amendment is arguably no longer the main obstacle to meeting an Israeli request. The primary issue is that the last F-22 rolled off the production line in December 2011. Restarting production could only be done at great expense.

And the United States Air Force is unlikely to willingly transfer aircraft from its irreplaceable fleet of around 180 Raptors, which are growing in relevance as the U.S. increasingly confronts China’s rapidly improving military aviation over the South China Sea.

The F-22 Reborn?

The Lockheed F-22 entered service in 2005 and lacks the modern computer systems and more cost-efficient radar-absorbent materials (RAM) found in the widely exported F-35.

However, the Raptor has a smaller radar cross-section , and is built for far greater speed and maneuverability thanks to its twin thrust-vectoring F119 turbofan engines. These give the F-22 supermaneuverable flight characteristics and the ability to cruise at supersonic speeds without afterburners.

That means while the F-35 may be less expensive to procure and fly, and is more flexible as a general-purpose warplane, the F-22 is a scarier adversary in air-to-air combat.

Nonetheless, a hypothetical new production run of F-22s would almost certainly require integration of some of the F-35’s advancements, becoming a so-called F-22/F-35 hybrid.

This possibility was studied by Japan in 2018. Tokyo too has long requested F-22s, particularly as China’s PLA Air Force improves qualitatively and probes Japanese airspace with increasing frequency. Though the Japanese military was already receiving F-35s, a dedicated air superiority fighter was closer what it had in mind.

However, Tokyo decided to pass when Lockheed’s proposal spelled out the high price of reestablishing a production line for a modernized F-22, with unit costs projected at $215 million per plane. (U.S. F-22 unit costs averaged $150 million prior to shut down of the production line.)

apan instead chose to develop its own sixth-generation stealth fighter, a long-term project likely to cost at least $45 billion.

Does Israel Need an Air Superiority Jet?

Israel has less compelling reasons than Japan to seek an air superiority fighter. The Israeli Air Force is already by far the most capable in the region, and has not faced serious aerial opposition since an air battle over Lebanon in June 1982, when Israeli F-15 and F-16s shot down 76 Syrian MiG fighters and wiped out a ground-based air defense system in one day without losing a single jet.

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True, since then Egypt and various Gulf Arab states have purchased advanced jets like the Dassault Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Sukhoi Su-35 and the F-15QA and SA. But the IAF retains a massive qualitative edge related to superior training, tactics and operational experience. Israel also has a domestic military aerospace industry that has continually furnished the IAF with advanced new drones, missiles and avionic systems.

Most importantly, the regional actors Israel is most likely to clash with—Syria and Iran—do not pose a major threat in air-to-air combat, while many of the states with advanced jets are more likely to be allies than enemies of Israel in a conflict.

The kinds of capabilities maturing in the region that do pose security challenges to Israel—particularly affordable combat drones and accurate, long-range ballistic missiles—require solutions very different from extremely costly manned jet fighters optimized for shooting down other extremely costly manned jet fighters.

Perhaps Gantz’s F-22 request is meant to highball in advance of more realizable objectives. For example, Haaretz notes that Israel would like authorization to purchase advanced U.S. drones, or have U.S. military assistance dollars be more easily spent on Israeli companies instead of those based in the U.S.

 
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cloud4000

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The production line is currently inactive. It can be restarted but at a substantial cost. And will Israel foot the bill or will the US have to subsidize them?
 

gangsta_rap

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you would think that israel would've endeavored to have its own FGFA program - but there's some sort of gentleman's handshake going on where israel will not pursue an independent fighter program and cut into US sales (we witnessed a hint of this from the Lavi program)
 

Oldman1

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The production line is currently inactive. It can be restarted but at a substantial cost. And will Israel foot the bill or will the US have to subsidize them?
Israel will have to foot the bill of an F22/F-35 hybrid program. F-22 flight performance with F-35 sensors. Tempting...
Or Israel could be interested in the secretive fighter prototype that the USAF revealed.
 

Gomig-21

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According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, senior Israeli defense officials subsequently sought compensation: “removing obstacles” to purchasing older F-22 Raptor stealth fighters designed for greater air-to-air combat capability than the F-35.
They're out of their doggone mind. Talk about greedy to the bone and let's see this country develop some cajones and put this little booger in its place and stop being so subservient to almost every single demand. They know they need to try and push this while the orange monkey is still in office because if Biden gets in, he'll be carrying Obama's philosophy towards Israel which was about as stiff as any US president has ever been, all things considered. What a joke.
 

PakFactor

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I wouldn't doubt it, I can see Israel flying F-22s down the road --
US Congress will maintain technological and qualitative edge of Israel anytime and any place, regardless who's president.
 

KAL-EL

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The production line is currently inactive. It can be restarted but at a substantial cost. And will Israel foot the bill or will the US have to subsidize them?
I would absolutely love if they restarted the production line, but not for Israel. But that’s another post for another day.

Israel, you already got advanced F 35 fighter’s. F 22 raptor’s would be complete overkill and I don’t want to foot the bill.
 

KAL-EL

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F-22 is pretty old and it doesn't have the gadgets of F-35.
It can without a doubt be updated. But obviously updated only to a point. The production line should’ve never shut down in the first place (my opinion)

The F 22 is still one of the most advanced Fighter jets in the world despite its age. Absolutely amazing!
 

Tai Hai Chen

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It can without a doubt be updated. But obviously updated only to a point. The production line should’ve never shut down in the first place (my opinion)

The F 22 is still one of the most advanced Fighter jets in the world despite its age. Absolutely amazing!
F-22 lags behind Su-57 and J-20 in terms of tech. F-22 entered service in 2005 and hasn't been updated a single time since.
 

KAL-EL

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F-22 lags behind Su-57 and J-20 in terms of tech. F-22 entered service in 2005 and hasn't been updated a single time since.
F 22 is decades old, But can still go toe To toe with most fighters today. That’s all that really needs to be said.
 

Marker

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F-22 is pretty old and it doesn't have the gadgets of F-35.
Some of its electronics may be obsolete, but F-22 manufacturers used special technologies to make it stealthier and agile. They applied special kind of paint over the aircraft surface to improve its stealth capability.
 

Sineva

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Those fvcking ☣zionists☣ never miss a trick do they?
I can literally just picture the phone call from 🦠nuttyahoo🦠 to the 🦃chumpenfuhrer🦃:
"Hey,uncle trumpy.Now that those eebil a-rabs who hate us and want to destroy us are our new bestest friends and are going to get f35s as a reward,can we have some f22s for free please?,cause you know....we need to maintain "our"[LOL!] military technological edge over them and sh!t."
:rofl:
 

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