Analysis: 3 fighter jets the U.S. is providing for other countries - M5 Dergi
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Analysis: 3 fighter jets the U.S. is providing for other countries

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The United States military has a presence in every corner of the globe as one of the world’s most influential entities.

When it comes to foreign aid, other countries often look to the United States for help since it’s both one of the wealthiest countries in the world and contains the most powerful military. Having the most powerful military means it has the means to help when needed, and that doesn’t always mean sending in troops. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a simple transaction. One of the more common forms of support is selling weapons, vehicles, and other equipment to allied nations.

Between the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II, there’s no dispute that America has some of the most technologically advanced aircraft. In some cases, the fighter jets are so advanced that there are stipulations for operating them. Turkey, for example, was once a part of the F-35 program but was quickly booted as soon as it purchased a Russian defense system that the U.S. believed would compromise the F-35 development. Turkey still receives some jets from America, but nothing as advanced.

Some allied nations receive newer, more advanced fighter jets like the F-35, while others have to settle for older fourth-generation jets. That doesn’t make them obsolete, though. Typically, when a country purchases an older jet, they’re sold with equipment that updates it with more modern technology.

F-16 Falcon

If anyone ever wondered if the F-16 is still used today, the answer is yes. It’s a bit of an older fighter jet, entering service in the latter half of the ’70s, but it has no problem keeping up with most enemy aircraft. Armed with an M-61A1 20mm multibarrel cannon and suited for air-to-air as well as air-to-surface missions, the F-16 is an imposing force in the air.

The U.S. State Department approved a deal with Turkey, giving the NATO ally 40 new F-16s and some other equipment in exchange for $23 billion. The equipment in the deal includes 79 modernization kits that will help Turkey update its older F-16s. However, it wasn’t just the money the U.S. wanted. The deal also required Turkey to vote in favor of Sweden joining NATO, which Turkey had been withholding for over a year.

Turkey isn’t the only country to get some brand-new F-16s. In August 2023, the U.S. approved giving Ukraine a number of F-16s from Denmark to defend itself against Russian aggression. According to Reuters, the Danish Defense Ministry said, “A coalition of 11 countries will start training Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 fighter jets later this month in Denmark.” The U.S. also gave approval for the Netherlands to send F-16s to Ukraine, which worked out because the Netherlands wanted to phase the Fighting Falcon out of its military.

F-35 Lightning II

It might come as no shock that the F-22 Raptor has never been sold to a foreign country as a means of maintaining confidential secrecy. What is surprising, however, is that the U.S. made an $8.6 billion deal with Greece to send them 40 F-35 Lightning IIs. While the F-35 is a controversial fighter jet because of its delays and exorbitant price tag, it’s still a highly advanced jet with some of the most advanced technology the military has seen. On the other hand, $8.6 billion is a nice sum that can help make up the costs of developing the Joint Strike Fighter.

The deal with Greece came at the same time as the one with Turkey, but unlike the F-16 negotiation, there were no stipulations with Greece. Absorbing these F-35s will help the Greek military modernize its forces, which will help it better contribute to NATO missions. Israel has also absorbed the F-35 Lightning II into its Air Force, becoming the first country outside of the U.S. to operate it. While Israel didn’t receive its first F-35 until 2016, the deal was made with the U.S. in 2010 through the United States’ Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process.

F-15 Eagle

The United States and Israel have been allies since the late 1940s and have entered into a good number of agreements over the years. One such agreement is the “Memorandum of Understanding.” This memorandum states that over the course of 10 years, the U.S. must provide military support by way of a certain dollar amount. The most recent memorandum was signed in 2016 and went into effect in 2018. Between October 1, 2018, and September 30, 2028, America is to provide Israel with $38 billion in military aid. That covers $33 billion in grants for military aid and $5 billion for Israel’s missile defense system.

As part of that deal, the Biden administration started working on a deal to send Israel up to 50 F-15 fighter jets in January 2024. The deal would cost more than $18 billion for the construction of completely new F-15s. No, Israel won’t be receiving used fighter jets; they would be built from scratch with modern engines, radar, and weapon systems. Included in the deal is a mid-life update for Israel’s current F-15 fleet, as the F-15 is over 50 years old. It could take up to five years before the new fighters are shipped.

The F-15 was once a legend of the skies due in part to its speed and maneuverability. Not only could it achieve Mach 2.4 (1,875 mph), but it could accelerate vertically immediately after takeoff, reaching 98,425 feet in just 3 and a half minutes.

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