JERUSALEM (Apr. 26)
Defense Ministry sources denied today an exclusive report published in the Jerusalem Post yesterday that Israel was exercising its option to order 25 more F-15 fighters from the U.S. Israel has already purchased 25 F-15s regarded as among the most advanced fighter planes in the world. The sources called the Post story unfounded. “We just about have the money to pay for the first 25,” they said. The F-15 costs over $20 million, making it one of the most expensive combat aircraft on the market.
The Defense Ministry sources confirmed, however, that Israel was seriously considering the purchase of the F-16, a lighter and less expensive fighter plane which would replace Israel’s Phantoms and Skyhawks when they become obsolete. Top level sources here, however, confirmed late this afternoon, despite earlier denials, that Israel is indeed contemplating the purchase of 25 additional F-15 jets as initially reported by the Jerusalem Post.
The newspaper Maariv yesterday confirmed the Jerusalem Post report on the pending purchase, citing “overseas sources.” But Davar’s military correspondent denied the story.
(In Washington yesterday, informed Israeli sources also disclaimed the Jerusalem Post report. Two Israeli Embassy sources said they had no information on the pending order and a visiting Israeli government official categorically denied that an order had been placed.)