After United States' previous refusal to sell Raptor to Israel, Jerusalem recently called for the ban to be lifted.
|USAF F-22 Raptor stealth fighters. The aircraft is being targeted by Israel.|
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has agreed to the sale of the F-35 Lightning II to the UAE after previous opposition from Israel. The confirmation comes after the recent meeting between Gantz and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
However, according to Israeli newspapers, Jerusalem appears to have asked the United States to be rewarded for this concession. The nation has called for the removal of obstacles preventing the purchase of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter.
No response has currently arrived from the United States on the matter and this request will hardly be accepted as the F-22 is no longer in production and it is unlikely that the U.S. Air Force, the only operator of this type, will accept to sell a part of its fleet.
Despite the agreement signed in August that normalizes relations with the UAE, Israeli officials initially opposed the sale to the Arab state of the same stealth fighters serving in the Israeli Air Force, appealing to a US law that guarantees military superiority to Israel over other states in the Middle East.
Israel is in fact afraid of losing its military dominance in the area.
"The pace of change in the Middle East is high. It's a different Middle East than it was in the last decade, and many countries that aren't in direct conflict with Israel are investing huge sums to build some of the world's most advanced air forces and air defense systems," a senior Israeli official said.
Israel had previously asked the United States for permission to purchase the Raptor, but the sale was blocked due to the 1998 Obey amendment, which specifically banned the export of the F-22. The amendment was issued following news of Israeli transfers of US aerospace technology to China.
Probably the main obstacle today is no longer this amendment, but it is that the Raptor is no longer in production and the USAF is expected to sell some of its 182 F-22 aircraft. It is highly unlikely as the Raptor is becoming increasingly important to the United States as tensions with China in the South China Sea rise. The aircraft's air superiority capability is currently unmatched and is very valuable to the USAF.
However, during the recent meeting, the Israeli and American ministers signed an agreement that provides for the sale of advanced weapons by the United States to Israel in the coming years. This will ensure the Israeli armed forces maintain a military advantage over those of neighboring nations.
Written by Matteo Sanzani