TEL AVIV (Dec. 19)
Israel is having second thoughts about whether it wants to purchase 250 F-16 jets from the United States. The reason, as hinted by Defense Minister Shimon Peres while in the United States earlier this month, is the steep increase in the price of the planes.
The F-16, which Israel hopes will be the leading warplane of the 1980s, originally was to cost $7 million per unit, but now has climbed to $11.5 million. This is without the necessary equipment and accessories which may bring the price of each plane up to $20 million.
In addition, while the U.S. has agreed in principle to sell the planes to Israel, it has not approved allowing Israel to manufacture parts for the plane. This has now apparently become a major obstacle to Israel’s final decision to buy the planes.