Israel to expand F-15 upgrade plan

Tel Aviv
This story is sourced from Flight International
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The Israeli air force is to enhance an upgrade programme to its Boeing F-15 "Baz" strike aircraft to include its oldest A/B-model aircraft. One prototype has already been completed and will serve to accelerate the series upgrade.

"We are confident that after the upgrade is complete, all the Baz fleet will be capable of performing long-range strikes in the next 10 years," an air force source says.

Israel's F-15C/Ds have been upgraded within recent years, but the service had not planned to invest in modernising its earlier A/Bs.

However, a more comprehensive upgrade is now aimed at enabling the older aircraft to use advanced weapon systems, such as bombs equipped with Boeing's Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance kit. The work will also include improvements to the aircraft's radar, plus fuselage strengthening.

Officially, the air force has not related the expansion of its F-15 upgrade to delays with Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. But sources say the issue does have an impact on some programmes that are connected to the operational capabilities of its current fighters.

Israel still operates 25 single-seat F-15As and five two-seat F-15Bs, which Flightglobal's MiliCAS database says were delivered between 1974 and 1978.