The London-based Arab newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported tonight (Friday) that US President Donald Trump has approved the sale of the elusive F-22 Raptor interceptor to the Israeli Air Force. This is a complex king as there is a law banning its sale to foreign countries and the production of the aircraft has already been stopped earlier this year.
According to the Arab newspaper, US Secretary of Defense Mark Asper met with Prime Minister Netanyahu during a quick visit to Israel and confirmed to the prime minister that the president had approved the sale of the advanced aircraft, along with advanced guided missiles.
It was also reported that Asper’s visit was intended to provide the government in Jerusalem with the administration’s response to Defense Minister Bnei Gantz’s demands, which he gave to the administration during his visit to Washington, in order to maintain the IDF’s qualitative advantage in the shadow of the sale of F-35s.
The report was not approved by any Israeli or American source. The report must be accepted with caution because even if the president has confirmed his intention to bring the aircraft to Israel for sale, the sale needs legislation in Congress as there is a law prohibiting the sale of the aircraft to foreign countries. Also, the production of the aircraft was completely stopped in 2011 and the cost of restoring production will be very high.
The F-22 has been dubbed “Flying Wonder” by senior U.S. Air Force officials and is considered the world’s finest interception aircraft that combines advanced weapon systems, high aeronautical capabilities and proven evasive capability. The plane saw operational activity in Afghanistan and Syria.