Why Israel’s Military Might Have Better F-15s Than the U.S. Air Force

Why Israel’s Military Might Have Better F-15s Than the U.S. Air Force

Charlie Gao


How Israel takes U.S. military equipment and makes them better. 

Israel was one of the first customers for the American F-15 fighter. It has served admirably as the backbone of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) throughout the late 1970s to the present day. In addition to its superb performance in the air-to-air role during the 1982 Lebanon War, the F-15 was also used in Operation Opera and Operation Wooden Leg, both long-range-strike missions

The Israel Defense Forces field a wide variety of American military equipment, due to significant amounts of American military aid to Israel. However, American equipment has not always been the best suited to the tough desert and urban conditions encountered by the IDF. As a result, American equipment in Israeli service is often extensively modified to fit the IDF’s unique mission. Here are some unique derivatives of American equipment that the IDF fields.

(This first appeared several years ago.)

1. MAPATS Antitank Missile

The IDF has had a long relationship with the antitank guided missile. In the long desert approaches that surround Israel, antitank missiles can direct the flow of combat and are very effective weapons. While the first ATGMs fielded by Israel were the French SS.10 and SS.11, it was replaced in the late 1970s by the American TOW (Orev in IDF service) missile. However, due to its wire-guided nature, the TOW has range limitations and cannot be used in all circumstances. Bodies of water, trees and power lines can disrupt the TOW’s guidance or endanger the TOW’s operator. As a result, the Israelis developed a version of the TOW that used laser guidance to avoid these issues. A new engine and improved warhead also gave it superior penetration and speed to the original TOW. The MAPATS has seen export success, although it is being replaced by other, newer Israeli ATGMs of wholly indigenous design.

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