Earlier, the Trump administration accused Israel of breaking the terms of the US-Israeli F-16 fighter jet contract after Tel Aviv attempted to sell Zagreb a batch of 12 of its used F-16s equipped with custom Israeli-made electronic systems.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to come to an agreement on the proposed $500 million F-16 deal between Israel and Croatia, a senior Israeli diplomatic source said, Axios reports.

The matter “is stuck in deep bureaucracy,” the official said after confirming that the issue had been broached at the meeting between Pompeo and Netanyahu in Brasilia on Tuesday. The official went on to add that the F-16 deal was the “only issue that is still under discussion” following the meeting.

The US blocked Israel from selling its modified F-16s to Croatia, demanding that they be returned to their original factory state.

Croatia, meanwhile, has insisted that it receive the “Israeli version” of the plane, rather than its ‘stock’ configuration, and has threatened to cancel the deal if the electronics are not included.

Under the terms of the original deal with Lockheed Martin, Tel Aviv and Washington had agreed that the US would have to approve any resale of the aircraft to a third party.

Last month, Zagreb denied that the deal had been blocked, insisting that it has been given a green light. However, last week, Axios reported that outgoing US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis personally blocked the sale, despite a telephone call appeal by Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Despite the F-16 deal setback, the Israeli official said that Tel Aviv got “almost everything it asked for,” in the Pompeo-Netanyahu meeting, with the secretary of state granting Israel “seven out of eight” requests.
“The prime minister left the meeting with the impression that Israel has great influence in certain areas, and that Israel and the US are advancing various ideas with respect to Syria that will help Israel,” the official said.
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Netanahu said he and Pompeo would discuss ways to “intensify…intelligence and operational cooperation in Syria and elsewhere to block Iranian aggression in the Middle East.”
Pompeo, for his part, assured Israel that President Trump’s recent decision to pull US troops out of Syria “in no way changes anything that this administration is working on alongside Israel.”
Source: Sputnik
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1 COMMENT

  1. They always can sell their stored Kfir (highly customised Mirage-5 made by IAI) block 60 : these have exactly the same customisation the F-16s have, an AESA radar.
    Range and payload may be inferior to F-16 since Mirage-5s are light weight while F-16 is mid weight but if you consider defence of air-space, these may be as efficient as a brand new $85M F-16V and would have the light weight advantage in case of dogfight. For sure, payload is only 5775kg while F-16 carries 7770kg, thus there are lighter modern guided bombs as efficient since these are more accurate, so it’s not a serious issue.
    In fact, Israel should consider selling Kfir block 60 to Kurds : Turkish F-16 only have older PESA radars, so have Russian Flankers but Su-35… Just ive’em Kfir block 60 and Patriot PAAC-4 AKA Rafael’s David Sling then they can secure their airspace against a Turkish invasion for Rojava and retaliate on Iranian attacks on KRG too.
    Add a few 2nd hand E-2 Hawkeye or other small cargosinto AWACS and Air-Tractor AT-802U which may be slow but can kick as much bütts as Su-25 while loitering for 8-10 hours, they you can put up a pretty efficient AF with a pretty low budget…. I think that IAI would have no problems at customising some AT-802 too, after all, they do the same kinda job for Indian Migs and Sukhois, propose to transform a 767 into a refueller, they make an AWACS from Airbus C-235 or C-295…
    No surprise they have so many clients, including US militaries: they propose the bestbang for the buck, just think that the Iron Dome interceptor is cheaper than an Igla ManPADS whle ranging thrice as much as Pantsir with way higher % of interception.
    In this case, Israelis should circumvent the Yanks by writing two contracts, one with the sale of stock F-16C/D and another where they sell their upgrades. I don’t really get why making a fuss about it…