F-22I Israeli Raptor
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Israeli officials during a visit to Israel in late October 2020 that the Trump administration has approved selling F-22 Raptors to the Jewish state, according to a Friday 30 October report in the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper citing senior sources in Tel Aviv, Trump has cleared the sale of the F-22 Raptor with precision-guided bombs to Israel. Previously these US combat aircraft were not sold to foreign countries.
The shares of Lockheed Martin (the manufacturer of the F-35), instead of rising in price due to the new sales market, collapsed on the news by 3.2% at once - to $350. But some thought the law prohibiting the sale of F-22 fighters to Israel was outdated. It was adopted in response to Israel's transfer of American aerospace technologies to China. However, today Beijing has similar J-20s, which is the basis for revising the Raptor embargo.
The Times of Israel Staff and Judah Ari Gross reported : "Israel previously expressed interest in buying not only the F-35, but the F-22, but the United States refused. The United States ceased production of the fighter in 2011, and legally prohibited its sale to foreign countries. However, in discussing the possibilities of strengthening security in the Middle East and confronting Iran, the Trump administration approved the possible sale of the F-22 to the Israeli Air Force."
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the leadership of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) openly called the F-22 Raptor a fighter that has more combat capabilities than the F-35. That is why “in recent meetings between Israeli and American military officials, Israeli officials have raised the issue of buying the F-22,” Haaretz writes. "... Our quality advantage is shrinking ... This is not at all the Middle East that it has been in the last decade."
It is noted that Israel returned to the issue of buying the F-22 after signing an agreement with the United States to maintain military superiority in the Middle East and approving the sale of the F-35 to the Emirates. At the same time, it is clarified that at the moment there is no decision on the possible sale of F-22 fighters to Israel.
Russia and China are rapidly developing 5th Generation stealth fighter jets. Russia is developing its long-awaited stealth fighter – the Su-57 – and hoping to sell it in the world market. China is investing heavily in the J-20 and J-31 stealth fighters and it is believed they will build them in significant numbers, and offer at least the J-31 for export. These countries are also building and proliferating, advanced surface-to-air missile systems that threaten to make 4th Generation fighter fleet increasingly obsolete.
Lockheed Martin would first have to overcome the Obey Amendment, which prohibited export of the fighter. The Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 1999 included Sec. 8092. "None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to approve or license the sale of the F-22 advanced tactical fighter to any foreign government." In a floor statement on September 3, 1997, Rep. David Obey, D-Wausau, a leading liberal Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations committee, stated "if indeed we are going to proceed to build the F-22 and spend $80 to $100 billion on that project to regain that technology edge that we ought to keep that technology at home and we ought not then sell that advanced technology to other countries. We are already being told that the contractor for the new F-22 is already talking about fully marketing that technology abroad. That is how we got into this problem in the first place.
"Mr. Speaker, it seems to me if we want to stop chasing our tail, we will adopt this amendment and simply spell out that if we are going to spend $80 to $100 billion in order to regain a technology edge around the world, we are not then going to sell off that technology to other countries. That is all the amendment says, and I would simply suggest that if we do not do that, we will be back here in 10 years having to supply more money to replace the F-22 with an F-44, and 10 years after that replace it with an F-88 because we will have given away our technology edge time and time again. If we are going to spend taxpayers' money, we ought to keep the benefit of that technology here at home."
Obey did not stand for re-election in 2010. His 41-year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives put him in rare company. Only 18 other people had served longer in the U.S. House than Obey. The US has not yet exported the F22 to any of its allies. The House Defense Appropriations Bill for FY2007 proposed to repeal the law, but export opponents in the House prevailed with the Senate in conference. In the Senate, prominent opponents were Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), defense appropriations chairman, Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), and Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.). The Senate Appropriations Committee voted on July 18 to continue the ban.
As early as 2007 there was speculation in the Israeli press about the F-22 to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge [QME]. In 2009 there was speculation that Washington might allow the export of fifth-generation F-22 Raptor multi-role fighters to certain countries, including Israel, due to a revision of its own military budget. In this case, according to The Jerusalem Post 30 March 2009, the production of these aircraft will not be stopped. Israel also intended to reconsider its decision to purchase the F-22, because it would like to have a reliable deterrent that would allow it to win any military conflict. "To do this, we must have the best aircraft of all the existing ones," said a source in the country's military department.
At the same time, the Israeli Ministry of Defense was negotiating with the American side to buy a batch of at least 25 F-35 Lightning II multirole fighters. Israeli pilots had already visited the United States, where they tested the qualities of this aircraft on a flight simulator and, as The Jerusalem Post emphasized, "returned to Israel with positive impressions." However, according to the source of the newspaper, if the export of the F-22 was allowed, the Israelis would postpone the purchase of the F-35 for some time.
Among the countries that previously expressed their intention to acquire a new American multirole fighter, positioned as the most advanced in the world, were Japan, Israel and Australia. As of 2009 the last two states had already opted for the F-35. The reason for this decision was the ban on the export of the F-22 fighter, caused by fears of technology leakage, as well as the high cost of these products.
The US had reduced the need for the F-22. At the development stage the military intended to buy up to 750 fighters, in total they needed fewer than 250. The 5th Generation F-22 fighter buy was eventually truncated at 187 aircraft. If the Pentagon completely abandoned the further purchase of aircraft, their production would be stopped. This factor causes dissatisfaction with the F-22 manufacturer and other subcontractors. Industrialists say America will lose thousands of jobs if this happens. Some experts also argued that the F-35 is significantly inferior in quality to the F-22, so the Pentagon should continue to purchase these fighters.
Addressing the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce Luncheon on 30 December 2014, Governor of Indiana Mike Pence said : "Resuming production of the F-22 would give a needed jolt to our economy, supporting up to 95,000 highly paid and skilled jobs in 44 states, and send a decisive message to the world about America's commitment to national defense. And since the Raptor is the best plane capable of evading the advanced radar in the surface-to-air missile defense system Russia says it will provide to Iran to guard its nuclear weapons facilities, following renewed U.S. production, the United States should consider making this aircraft available to Israel to ensure that you have the most advanced capability to defend your country and your freedom, now and in the future. We should not be afraid to take such steps, because we should never doubt our right to self-defense, and our economies and our strategic interests are intertwined in this region."
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|