The Israeli Ministry of Defence is poised to make a decision on selection of a new fighter once the first round of voting in the general elections is complete on 17 May.

The outcome is likely to be a purchase split between the Lockheed Martin F-16I and the Boeing F-15I. The air force is known to favour the F-16, but a limited number of Boeing aircraft may be ordered. The air force believes the conformal fuel-tank equipped F-16I will give it the same operational range as the F-15I, while allowing it to buy the largest number of aircraft possible with its $2.5 billion acquisition budget.

Israeli defence companies favour the F-15I as Boeing has committed itself to a large-scale industrial co-operation programme on the back of any purchase. This, and the need to give the existing Israeli F-15I squadron a bigger attrition reserve, may result in a limited purchase.

Source: Flight International