Last fall, seeking to make good on a pledge of supplemental military aid from the U.S., Israel requested a new squadron of F-15s. The Pentagon reportedly has rejected the request, insisting that Israel spend the funds on the newer F-35s instead. While these are in many ways superior aircraft, Caroline Glick notes an important distinction: Israel expressly wished to install its own computer systems on the F-15s, but no such option is available for the F-35s, which depend entirely on a system ultimately controlled from the U.S. She writes:
By giving Israel no option other than purchasing more F-35s, which the Americans control—to the point of being able to ground—even after they are deployed by the Israel Air Force (IAF), and defensive systems jointly developed with the U.S. and built in the U.S., the Americans are hollowing out Israel’s ability to operate independently.
Clearly, by waiting for the next president to conclude Israel’s military-assistance package, Netanyahu is hoping that President Obama’s successor will give Israel a better deal. But the fact is that even if a pro-Israel president is elected, Israel cannot assume that American efforts to erode Israel’s strategic independence will end once Obama leaves office. . . .
This week India and Israel were poised to finalize a series of arms deals totaling $3 billion. The final package is set to be signed during India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel later this year. The deal includes various missile- and electronic-warfare systems. . . . Netanyahu should view India’s enthusiasm for Israeli systems as an opportunity to end the IAF’s utter dependence on . . . U.S. systems.