Iran Could Never Counter This Move: America Gives Israel F-22s and B-52 Bombers

Robert Farley
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Robert Farley

Technology, Middle East

Tehran's worst nightmare?

Iran Could Never Counter This Move: America Gives Israel F-22s and B-52 Bombers

Of course, Israel hasn’t operated a strategic bomber since it retired a few B-17 Flying Fortresses in the 1950s. Nevertheless, the perceived need for an option that could penetrate Iranian air defenses and deliver heavy payloads might make the IDF reconsider its commitment to fighter-bombers. Whether the United States would ever consider exporting the bomber (which will likely fall under a variety of legal restriction associated with nuclear-delivery systems) is a different question entirely.

With only a few notable exceptions, Israel can buy whatever it wants from the United States, generally on very generous terms associated with U.S. aid packages.Notwithstanding the availability of weapons, however, Israel must still make careful decisions regarding how to spend money. Consequently, Israel can’t have quite everything that it would like, despite the continued good relationship with the United States and its arms industry. Here are a few US military systems that the Israelis could use:

Littoral Combat Ship: 

For a long time, the sea arm of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has examined the potential for warships somewhat larger than the corvettes that have historically dominated the force. As Israel’s maritime security interests increased (the necessity of maintaining the Gaza blockade, and of patrolling offshore energy deposits), this need has become more acute.

Over the last decade, the IDF extensively studied the possibility of acquiring heavily modified versions of the U.S. Littoral Combat Ship design. These would have had significantly different features, mainly making them less modular and more self-sufficient than their American cousins. On paper, the plan made a lot of sense; a high-speed, networked platform would fit in very well with the IDF’s operational concept. However, the necessary modifications drove up the cost of the warship, pricing it out of Israel’s range. Future changes in the market (or in Israel’s perception of need) might well shift the equation, however.

F-22 Raptor: 

The Obey amendment, which prohibits the export of the F-22 Raptor, was developed with Israel firmly in mind. Concerned about Israel’s transfer of high-technology equipment to Russia or China, the United States decided that domestic considerations meant it could not bar Israel from acquiring the Raptor without a blanket ban.

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