Israel Receives New F-16I Fighters

(March 8, 2004)

In the latest example of U.S-Israeli strategic cooperation, Israel recently received the first pair of American-built F-16I fighter jets that it is adding to its arsenal. Israel will receive 100 more by 2008.

The warplanes were purchased by Israel from Lockheed Martin in part with funds from the $2 billion-plus annual military aid provided by Congress.

The F-16I, known as Sufa, “storm” in Hebrew, was designed to expand Israel’s strategic reach and is essentially an American-built plane outfitted with a number of Israeli technologies. The Sufa’s major innovation is a pair of external fuel tanks, which significantly extend the range of the plane, increasing the ability of the Israeli air force to counter distant threats.

“This is a magnificent aircraft and is a perfect example of the synergy that comes from the collaboration between our nations,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Timothy Murphy, the U.S. military attaché to Israel.

Calling the Sufa “a wonderful combination of United States industrial capacity and Israeli ingenuity,” Col. Murphy declared the plane, “the newest symbol of the close and continuing relations between our countries and of the U.S. commitment to the defense of Israel.”

Source: Near East Report