Defense Minister Benny Gantz landed in Washington on Tuesday for discussions on maintaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) with his US counterpart Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other senior Pentagon officials.
Gantz’s goal is to ensure Israel’s military edge in light of the U.S.’s likely sale of the stealth F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates following its peace deal with Israel. Senior Israeli security officials have stated that Israel will demand compensation from the U.S. for any arms deal between the US and the UAE.
Gantz’s office stated that the trip will involve ”meetings to discuss maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge, international policy regarding Iran and strategy for halting its expansion and entrenchment in the Middle East, and discussions on defense cooperation and procurement.”
Gantz is equipped with a weaponry shopping list Israel says it needs to maintain its military superiority in the Middle East, Ynet reported.
According to security officials, Benny Gantz will try to return from the United States with an achievement. He did not just fly to update and be updated. The IDF is waiting. https://t.co/2dVQQKAdTO
— Israel Conflict News (@IsraelGazaICN) September 21, 2020
The list includes the earlier delivery of Boeing KC-46 Pegasus jets, which is currently scheduled to be delivered in four years. The US has approved the sale of eight jets to Israel for $2.4 billion dollars.
Israel may also be approved to purchase advanced F-15 EX jets, designated to be the IDF’s next-generation bombers by 2023. The report added that Gantz will also be discussing the future acquisition of advanced long-range capabilities.
Tomorrow the department welcomes Israel’s defense minister, Benjamin “Benny” Gantz, to the Pentagon with an enhanced honor cordon.
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) September 22, 2020
A Reuters report on Tuesday said that the US and the United Arab Emirates are aiming to form an initial agreement on the sale of F-35 fighter stealth jets to the Gulf country by December.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)