Newspaper reported that US President Donald Trump approved the sale of modern F-22 Raptor fighters to Israel.
High-ranking sources in Tel Aviv stated that US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, during his brief visit to Israel on Thursday, revealed to officials in the Hebrew state the approval of President Trump to the export of modern fifth-generation fighters.
During the visit, Esper met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
The newspaper’s sources suggested that there are two goals behind the visit of Esper- one of which is to reassure the American voters that the Trump administration is still committed to ensure Israel’s security and containing the potential negative repercussions of arms deals with other countries, on top of which is the sale of F-35 fighters to the UAE.
Yet, the main objective of the visit is to inform Israeli officials of the Trump administration’s response to the demands raised by Gantz during his last two visits to Washington, which include increasing US military aid to Israel.
Moreover, the visit aimed to form a new Israeli squadron of F-35 fighters and exporting an updated version of the fighter. F-15s, F-22 helicopters, and refueling aircraft.
Israel also demanded the United States to supply it with modern smart bombs weighing 14 tons and “F-22” aircraft, which are the only fighter aircraft capable of carrying these bombs.
The newspaper pointed out that Trump’s approval of this request came after the fact that the United States government previously pledged not to sell these bombs and fighters to any other country in the world.
The Hebrew newspaper “Haaretz” confirmed Thursday that Israeli military officials asked Washington to export the “F-22” to ensure the military superiority of the Hebrew state in the region, after Washington agreed to sell F-35 fight to the UAE.
The newspaper declared that Israel previously showed interest in purchasing the “F-22”, but Washington rejected this request at the time.
The United States suspended production of the F-22 in late 2011 due to its high cost and has focused on the F-35 program.
In 1997 the US Congress adopted a resolution banning the export of F-22s to other countries.