US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Israeli officials during a visit to Israel last week that the Trump administration has approved selling F-22 stealth fighters to Israel, according to a Friday report in a Saudi-owned newspaper.
The report was first broken by the London-based newspaper “Asharq Al-Awsat” with reference to “so called source” within Tel Aviv. Thus, this news can be very well planted news considering the US election and how important Israel is for republican voters in US.
Why F22 raptor is a big deal?
Considering the “Source” based information is correct and US has finally decided to export “F22 raptor” then it is indeed a big deal.
The export of F22 raptor is barred by a federal law. The House of Representatives passed the law in 1998 over concerns that the nigh-unparalleled stealth technology in the F-22 could fall into the hands of Russia or China if the aircraft were sold abroad, including to Israel.
The decision to sell the F22 raptor will require a nod from house of representatives. The amendment could be lifting of ban permanently or an exception can be provided to Israel exclusively.
Peace deals of Middle east
UAE and Israel are normalizing their relationship, and this is enabled by a peace deal between two countries. This peace deal is brokered by United states of America and seen as a big achievement of Trump administration.
Followed by the peace deal US has decided to sell cutting edge F35 lightening II to UAE. The White House updated Congress on Thursday on its intent to sell F-35s to the UAE.
The informal notification to the House Foreign Affairs Committee revealed that the White House plans to sell as many as 50 units of the Lockheed Martin-made jets for roughly $10.4 billion, a senior congressional staffer told the media. Israel has ordered the same number of F-35s from the US, though not all of them have been delivered yet.
Strong Israel lobby in United states
The Israel lobby (at times called the Zionist lobby) are individuals and groups seeking to influence the United States government to better serve Israel’s interests. The largest pro-Israel lobbying group is Christians United for Israel with over seven million members. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a leading organization within the lobby, speaking on behalf of a coalition of American Jewish groups.
This strong lobby usually ensures the decisions taken by the US administration are either pro-Israel or if not then they should have a deal to cover the interest of Israel.
With the sale of F35 to UAE, the military supremacy of Israel in the region will be challenged and that required a counter balancing act. The sale of F22 raptor can be “that counter balancing act”.
F22 Raptor means more business:
Lifting the ban from the F22 raptor sale is easier said than done. The technology is referred as state secret and republicans who are considered more nationalist will not want to compromise the American supremacy in this technological field.
Justifying the sale of F22 raptor to Israel is comparatively easier than lifting the umbrella ban. Providing the waiver to Israel will open the door for countries like Japan, South Korea and even Singapore.
All the current operators of F15 will be interested in F22 raptor and this will be spearheaded by Japan. Japan in past has approached united states for the sale of F22, however because of this umbrella ban the sale wasn’t possible.
F35 vs F22
The F22 raptor is air dominance fighter jet while F35 is a multi-role fighter jet. If the requirement is to maintain the air dominance on a region (which is the requirement of Israel) then the F22 raptor is the machine for you.
F35 on the other hand is best suited for the strike role. The name of the platform itself suggests that, it’s called “Joint strike fighter”. The combination of F22 and F35 together can get any mission done with atmost perfection.
Sixth Generation Push
The U.S. Air Force revealed a next generation fighter couple of months ago. The service has secretly designed, built, and tested a new prototype fighter jet. The fighter, about which we know virtually nothing, has already flown and “broken records.”
This sixth-generation fighter jet makes the technology of the F22 raptor a notch below and thus keeping it a state secret no longer makes sense.
Iran & China in mind
With raining peace deal and new alliances, the adversaries for united states are now just Iran and China. The superiority of Gulf allies over Iran and balancing of china by Japan and India, will make things similar for US.
We at alpha defence believe that US will break a peace deal with Iran post US election and stay away from middle east by outsourcing the peace of the region to Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
The production of the F22 raptor is long closed. Revival of the production line and the supplier will skyrocket the cost of the fighter jet, which was already costliest fighter jet ever built.
F22 raptor for India?
As the discussion around F22 raptor for Israel surfaced, many started asking “Cant india buy F22”. This has three major aspects that needs a detailed look.
1. Will united states of America offer F22 to India?
The reluctance of united states can be seen with the F35 itself. As India decided to buy S400 triumf from Russia the doors for the next generation American fighters were almost closed.
2. Why F22 when India is working on AMCA ?
The Air Chief Marshal RKS Badhoria has categorically rejected any chance of any fifth-generation fighter jet import. Import of F22 or F35 (which really do not have chance after S400) will kill the potential of AMCA.
India is already operating 270+ Su30 MKI will be upgraded to Super Sukhoi standards with Indian subsystems. The fighter jet will become a 4++ generation fighter jet and will remain in service for another 20 years.
The IAF currently requires a strike platform more than an air dominance fighter jet. Based on the threat perception in the Indian Subcontinent the F22 will be overkill.