Israel has submitted a formal request to the US government for 25 F-15EX fighter aircraft, according to industry sources who spoke to Breaking Defense.

An official letter of request was reportedly sent by the Israeli Ministry of Defense last week, marking the first step in the foreign military sale process.

Jerusalem will now have to wait for an initial decision by the US before quantity and pricing are discussed.

Meanwhile, a defense source told Breaking Defense that since the request has officially been issued, the Middle Eastern nation could expect the earliest deliveries of the F-15EX in 2028.

The defense ministry and the US Embassy in Jerusalem have refused to comment on the information.

Stalled Acquisition Plan

In 2020, the Israeli government said it would procure F-35 and F-15 fighter aircraft to bolster its air defense capabilities.

While the F-35 stealth fighter purchase went through, a contract signing for the F-15 was delayed due to political instability in the country.

Israel had five general elections in less than four years, affecting the procurement process for the F-15EX.

But with a new government, the F-15 deal was expected to push through.

Fending Off Iran

Israel’s move to formally request 25 F-15EX comes amid growing defense ties between Russia and Iran, a regional arch-foe of Jerusalem.

There is an ongoing fear about Moscow supplying Tehran with the advanced S-400 anti-aircraft defense system and the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet.

Iran also claimed to have developed a long-range drone that can strike several Israeli cities.

Because of the threats, the Israeli Air Force expressed an urgent need for F-15s that can be loaded with high-powered weapon systems tailored to destroy hardened targets, such as Iranian nuclear sites.