High-flying question marks – the Israeli air force inventory

Will the defence budget problems extend the life of some aircraft in the Israeli air force (IAF) inventory? This question becomes more and more acute, as the budget problems are heavier than ever before.


Two types are in focus – the F-15s and the A-4s. The repeated delays in the delivery dates of the 20 Lockheed Martin F-35s to the IAF are causing concern and a thought about extending the life of the F-15Is, and maybe some older ones.


There is even talk about buying some additional ones with the improved capabilities. Gap filler, extra capability. The name is not important. When the threats do not correspond to the budget, different solutions are brought up.


The other aircraft in focus is the A-4, serving as the advanced trainer of the IAF. The decision about the replacement is on indefinite hold.


As if to complicate things, following the crash of one of the final contenders, the IAF wants to learn what happened before a selection is on the agenda.


The IAF has asked Aermacchi to get the full report on the crash of the M-346 into the sea after participating in the Dubai air show last week.


The M-346 is one of the two finalists in the competition aimed at selecting an advanced trainer for the IAF. It competes with the KAI T-50.


The final selection has been delayed because of the Israeli defence budget problems. Sources said that the current situation may lead to a decision not to select a replacement for the IAF’s A-4s until the defence budget allows it.


The uncertainties of the defence budget, mixed with some uncertainties of delivery dates and with some more related to near-term operational needs, have put a huge question mark over some acquisition programmes that until recently looked solid.

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