With Sen. Bob Menendez out of the way, Turkey and Egypt may see movement on their longstanding bids to acquire new US-made jets.
His removal could be a game-changer for Egypt and Turkey - two important but vexing US allies - when it comes to buying modern US-made fighter jets to upgrade their air forces. While Turkey is a NATO ally and hosts US forces, its relations with the US have soured over what the US sees as Ankara's democratic backsliding and coziness with Russia. Turkey's purchase of Russia's S-400 air-defense system prompted the US to kick Turkey out of the F-35 program and impose sanctions. Egypt now operates the world's fourth-largest F-16 fleet, but it has never gotten F-15s. In March 2022, Gen. Frank McKenzie, then head of US Central Command, told lawmakers he thought there would soon be "Good news" about an F-15 sale to Egypt, which had been "a long, hard slog." Menendez's indictment may be another setback, however. Cardin is a critic of Egypt's government and has put a hold on nearly a quarter-billion dollars of the $1.215 billion in military aid for Egypt next year that the State Department approved in September. It's unclear if Egypt will seek another fighter type instead of F-15s. China, which hopes to sell more of its military hardware to Middle Eastern countries, showcased its J-10C fighter at the Dubai Airshow this month. Egypt is in "Poor shape" financially, with little room in its military budget for other jets, and is "Still pretty stuck" with the US as its main weapons supplier, Bohl said.