On September 22, 1998, the Pentagon announced approval for the proposed sale of $5 billion worth of warplanes to Israel.
Israel is expected to buy 60 F-16C/Ds from Lockheed Martin Corp. of Orlando, FL. The Fighting Falcon is one of the most maneuverable fighters ever built. The sale will also include 30 F-15Is built by Boeing Aerospace of St. Louis, MO. The F-15 is the U.S. Air Force’s primary air-superiority fighter. Each of the F-15Is will be outfitted with the LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night) pods, as will 30 of the F-16s.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping improve the security of a friendly country which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” according to the Pentagon. Israel needs both aircraft “to augment its present operational inventory and to enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability.”
The proposed sales include support equipment, training, specialized radars, night vision goggle-compatible cockpits, the capability to support assorted AIM-120 and AIM-9 missiles and a wide variety of air-to-surface munitions, the statements said.
Sources: The Associated Press, September 22, 1998; Photos courtesy of Mad Ace Aviation