TEL AVIV: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked President Donald Trump today for 12 Boeing V-22s, another squadron of F-35s to bring the total to 75, and the very early delivery of two Boeing KC-46As at the White House today.
The request was made during a day of extraordinary meetings as President Trump, the Prime Minister of Israel and the Foreign Ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates were to sign what are being called the Abraham Accords, meant to normalize relations between the Arab states and Israel.
The new weapons are meant to keep Israel’s qualitative edge after the U.S agreed to sell the F-35 to the UAE and Teheran rattles its homemade swords, furious about the new era between Israel and some Gulf states.
Hours before hosting the signing of historic peace agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, President Trump doubled down on the idea of selling F-35s to the UAE.
“I personally would have no problem with it,” the president told Fox and Friends this morning, “I would have no problem in selling them the F-35.”
The Israelis, who understand the US political system well, are likely to press Trump to put the new sales in motion before the November elections to minimize the chances they might fall victim to a change in power in Washington.
“The Israeli request will be based on an accelerated process aimed at getting all the approvals before the November presidential elections” one Israeli source told BD.
The request is also likely to include a replacement for Israeli Apache AH-64A combat helicopters that are planned to go out of service in 2025. Israel, one source says, will also ask for “increased numbers” of bunker buster bombs, usually thought to be designed to strike Iranian nuclear sites.
On top of all that, the Israelis may seek an advanced communication satellite, a source told Breaking D.
The request for a new weapons package would be in addition to the existing Foreign Military Financing agreement with the US. The current agreement, signed in 2016, increased US assistance from $ 34 billion in the decade to $38 billion between 2019 and 2028.
Why is Israeli seeking so much new gear? It’s not, Israeli sources explain, because of the prospective sale of F-35s to the UAE, but because they believe this deal will open a new arms race in the region and they want to stay head of it. Israel is also concerned about the possibility of leadership changes in some Gulf countries
The assessments for what’s needed were drawn up when the IDF formed a special team headed by Maj. General Tomer Bar, the IDF’s head of its planning and force building department. This team is reviewing the operational demands of some of the IDF ground forces units.