New version of the 5th-generation F-35 stealth fighter arrives in Israel for testing
TEL AVIV, (BM) – Israel and the United States continue to work closely together on joint development of weapons produced by the two countries. Such is the case with the latest version of the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, who has already arrived to conduct tests in the Jewish state, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Many military experts from both countries [Israel and the United States] call the F-35I Adir “unique”, but so far no one wants to reveal exactly what the fighter’s new features are and what its uniqueness lies. Military experts from the United States and Israel have speculated on the information, saying it makes perfect sense for Israel to test a new type of weapon that will be used by the Israeli military in the future. We remind you that the Jewish state is developing and integrating its Spice-guided bombs, which would mean that new developments could also be subject to integration and testing in the fighter. These bombs are known for having artificial intelligence, which makes them accurate and effective when it comes to detecting and identifying ground targets.
Other speculations by military experts are that the Israeli state will test new developments of air-to-air missiles, or an updated version of the latest avionics of the “invisible” fifth-generation fighter. At this stage, we can only guess what the new features and characteristics of the fighter are, but we know from experience that Israel generally does not provide detailed information about the tests performed and the results achieved, especially at a time when the United States is ready to sell the F-35 of the United Arab Emirates.
Israeli and American journalists write that the new fighter will become part of the squadron of the Flight Test Center [FTC], which is located in the center of the country at the Tel Nof air base. This center was specially built by the Israeli state to test various weapon systems and offer appropriate improvements or upgrades. In Israel it is better known by the code name Manat.
According to the head of the center Manat, the delivered fifth-generation F-35 fighter is not part of a purchase agreement, which shows that it really came for tests outside the United States. According to the head of the center, the fighter “must meet our special operational requirements”, whatever lies behind these words.
We will remind you that Israel uses quite different versions of the F-35 fighter, even from the country of manufacture. However, other countries, including the United States, are developing their own alternatives to the fighter, such as increasing the efficiency and payload of the unit, which aims to carry and drop bombs. This version has been tested and developed by the United States Air Force.
Israel already has a second prepared and dangerous F-35 squadron
As we reported in August after six months of intensive preparations, another fighter squadron of Israeli Air Force armed with the new F-35I Adir multirole fighters is on combat readiness. It is the 116th Squadron “Lions of the South”, which is stationed at the Nevatim air base in the Negev desert and previously operated the old F-16A / B multi-role fighters.
So far, the F-35I machines have only been used operationally by the 140th “Golden eagle” squadron, which is also stationed at the Nevatim base. As a result, all currently used Adiras are in one location, which has certainly facilitated training and certification.
Getting ready by the “Lions of the South” required only six months of intensive training and exercises in a variety of challenging scenarios to prepare for the final combat readiness test. As part of the final test, the pilots had to deal with high-intensity operational activities lasting three days, including simulated air combat.
At the same time, on August 4 this year another four F-35I Adirs have been transferred to Nevatim Air Base and will most likely be delivered to the IAF Manat Air Test Center at Tel Nof Air Base. Last week, Israeli F-35s of the 140th Squadron took part in joint exercises with their counterparts from the USAF 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron over southern Israel.
In May this year the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) made the final decision to liquidate the 117th Air Force Squadron, armed with the F-16C “Barak” multirole fighter. This step is part of the long-term technical modernization program of the Momentum to increase internal efficiency and reduce the number of older weapons systems currently in use, as well as to acquire and implement new ones.
The released infrastructure, personnel and resources are to be used in the currently implemented program of introducing the new F-35I “Adir” multirole 5th generation fighter to the line service. So far, Israel has ordered a total of 50 F-35I “Adir”, more than 1/3 of which has already been delivered and is already in line service with the Israeli Air Force 140 Squadron.
Ultimately, Israel wants to acquire 4 to 5 tactical aviation squadrons equipped with 75 machines of the 5th generation. Probably some of the next potential 25 machines may be the variant of the F-35B, i.e. shortened take-off and vertical landing.
The Israeli F-35s are radically different from those of the US military
The National Interest magazine published an article in which it noted that the main problem of the American F-35 fighters is their maintenance. Countries such as Japan and the United Kingdom must contact Lockheed Martin to obtain the necessary equipment or parts. At the same time, experts said that Israel was able to agree on such conditions when all aircraft undergo maintenance at the Nevatim base.
Analysts believe that Jerusalem has the most “capable” version of the fighter – the F-35I. According to the Israeli military, this combat vehicle is significantly superior to the 4th generation aircraft. Experts singled out the C4 command and control system as features of the fighter, which allows real-time updating of data on the combat situation, as well as interaction with F-16 squadrons or ground forces.
The main advantage of the F-35 over the Su-27 in Israel is considered the AN / ASQ-239EW protection system, which is able to inform the pilot about the danger long before the moment when the pilot of the Russian fighter “learns about its existence”. It is reported that the Israeli version of this defense system is different from the American one, given the threats typical of the Middle East region.
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