The Israeli Ministry of Defense has formally requested 25 F-15EX fighters from the US, which has generated great anticipation. Israel has made this purchase to deal with escalating tensions with Iran and the need to bolster its air defense capabilities.
This new technology is essential for the Israel Air Force (IAF) as it needs the airpower and number of aircraft to deal with Iran’s advanced air defense systems and nuclear facilities.
The Israeli version of the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-15I Ra’am “Thunder,” is a highly specialized fighter platform that entered IAF service in the late 1990s. The Thunder’s larger frame is perhaps the most significant modification that Israel requested.
Its ability to carry larger quantities of weapons gives the F-15 a capability not found in more streamlined airframes like the F-35. In addition to size, the Thunder platform boasts several domestically designed capabilities, such as an Israeli-made mainframe and an Elbit viewing helmet and visor.
Operations history of the F-15I
The F-15I Ra’am has played a pivotal role in the IAF’s suite of missions, being used frequently in conflicts along Israel’s borders and abroad. The airframe has a star-studded record for use in training exercises and counter-terrorism operations in the region, including the Gaza War, the 2006 Lebanon War and Operation Pillar of Defense. As Iran has intensified its efforts on the nuclear front, the IAF has incorporated the F-15I and its capabilities into attack plans.
The F-15I, also known as the “Ra’am” (Thunder) in Israel, is a modified version of the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet used by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). It has been involved in several important military operations.
The F-15I was introduced in 1998 and has been crucial to Israeli military missions since then. One significant operation was the 2007 airstrike on a suspected nuclear facility in Syria. The F-15I, along with other aircraft, successfully destroyed the facility.
In 2009, during “Operation Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip, the F-15I carried out airstrikes against Hamas targets, supporting ground forces and neutralizing enemy positions.
The F-15I has also been used to counter missile threats. It has been responsible for precise strikes against enemy missile launchers and infrastructure, protecting Israel from potential attacks.
Additionally, the F-15I has participated in joint military exercises with allied nations like the United States. These exercises help pilots improve their skills, exchange tactics, and strengthen military cooperation.
Today, the F-15I continues to play a crucial role in the Israeli Air Force. Its long-range capabilities, advanced technology, and powerful weapons systems make it important for maintaining air superiority and ensuring Israel’s security.
The F-15I has been involved in various military operations, including airstrikes, countering missile threats, and training exercises. Its effectiveness and versatility have made it a valuable fighter jet for the Israeli Air Force.
The future of the F-15I and the IAF
The F-15 is 50 years old, but it’s still an absolute powerhouse for all the air forces that use it. According to Boeing, the new F-15EX fighter “carries more weapons than any other fighter in its class and can launch hypersonic weapons up to 22 feet long and weigh up to 7,000 pounds.”
The Israeli government is expected to request that the order for the 25 F-15EX fighters be expedited. With the incorporation of this new technology, the IAF will have an even more capable fleet to face the growing threats in the region.