With an eye on Iran and other complex, heavily defended theaters, Israel is building up the infrastructure and indigenous capabilities needed to begin operating its first F-35 Adir (Awesome) stealth strike fighters by the end of 2017.
…“The stealth and other advanced capabilities provided by this fifth-generation fighter are self-evident,” an IAF officer told Defense News when asked how the F-35 would maintain superiority over advanced anti-air systems, like the Russian S300 slated for delivery to Iran.
…“Your options for attacking the enemy are much more numerous and practical,” said Maj. E., an Adir project manager and one of the initial cadre of pilots tapped to fly the F-35.
“The things that we could do before will entail much less risk, and the things we might not have been able to do before will be rendered doable,” said the officer, whose full name was withheld from publication for security reasons.
…“We’re studying proof of concept trade studies on carrying extra fuel,” a Lockheed Martin program official told Defense News. “After you own the air space, you won’t have to worry about stealth. So then you can add external tanks because you won’t be worried about being detected.”
Israeli defense and industry sources said that ultimately they hope to develop F-35 conformal fuel tanks that are stealthy. Nevertheless, they say it is well worth the effort given that it will more than double the range with very low risk of detection.
Only days later, IMRA picked up on this report from the Iranians:
Managing Director of Iranian Electronic Industries Company Hossein Baqeri announced on Sunday that the country’s experts and engineers have designed and manufactured a radar system that can identify approaching flights from the most remote areas and high-altitudes.
The question is not if the F-35’s can address the S-300 system. The real question is how long it might take Iran to implement Chinese and Russian technology to intercept F-35’s. Iran certainly will have the money and the technology is “defensive” in nature and thus not even technically covered by restrictions. The answer to this question delineates the “window” Israel has to act against Iran.
Renders any idea of a “deal” with Iran rather moot, doesn’t it? Almost as if it’s a huge publicity stunt to deflect attention from the reality on the ground in the Middle East.