F-35I Adir is a ‘monster’, with its own frequency hopping EW system

Meet the stealth F-35I Adir, Israel’s unique variant of the F-35, a ‘monster’ equipped with a suite of indigenous modifications. These include a dedicated jamming pod, a state-of-the-art electronic warfare [EW] system, and specially engineered guided bombs and air-to-air weapons. 

New version of the 5th-generation F-35 stealth fighter arrives in Israel for testing
Photo credit: The Drive

Israel, already boasting a fleet of 35 F-35I Adir variants, is on a mission to acquire more of these combat giants. The goal? To broaden the horizons and flex the muscles of its air force. 

The ability to deploy more F-35Is is a game-changer for Israel. Thanks to their ability to seamlessly network with each other, these aircraft can operate across wider and more dispersed operational areas, enhancing Israel’s strategic flexibility.

Special F-35 Variant

Israel stands out in the F-35 program as the only state operating its distinct variant – the F-35I Adir. The components of this aircraft are specifically designed to counter threats from Iran, incorporating proprietary technology and innovations protected by the Israeli Defense Forces.  

F-35I Adir is a 'monster', with its own frequency hopping EW system
Photo credit: IAF

The custom-built EW system is crucial to Israel’s strategy with the F-35, considering the unique threat landscape the Israeli Air Force may have to navigate. This includes regional threats such as Iran and militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, who may not pose traditional air threats to Israel in terms of aircraft. 

In the volatile theater of the Middle East, Israel’s squadron of F-35Is is poised to quickly establish air dominance. After all, none of Israel’s regional adversaries, including Iran, currently operate 5th-generation aircraft, giving the F-35I Adir an unchallenged edge. 

A Showdown of Giants

Imagine this scenario: Iran, boasting its prowess in intercepting, jamming, or knocking out drones with its electronic warfare [EW] system, managed to take down a U.S. Navy BAMS-D Global Hawk variant a few years back. Amidst the hush-hush world of EW, whispers of the U.S. F-35’s remarkably advanced EW system have been circulating. 

F-35 Lightning II fighter jet
Photo credit: Twitter

These cutting-edge EW systems are like the chess grandmasters of the electromagnetic spectrum. They can discern and “deconflict” the spectrum, pick out hostile or threatening frequencies and RF signatures, and establish a “line of bearing”. The goal? To jam or disable enemy communications or weapons guidance systems. 

Developers are boasting about a system that introduces 360-degree detection, greater ranges, improved signal fidelity, and advanced countermeasures. Imagine a system that can simultaneously operate or even jam multiple frequencies, accurately identify threats and signals, and enable key countermeasures like frequency hopping. Sounds like a scene from a sci-fi movie, right? 

Frequency hopping

Now, let’s talk about frequency hopping, a fascinating technology where an EW system is designed to essentially “counter the countermeasure”. Picture this: an EW signal or RF-reliant weapons guidance system is jammed or attacked by an enemy. What happens next? Frequency hopping comes into play, enabling the offensive EW systems to continue operating by “hopping” to another frequency to avoid interference. It’s a high-tech game of leapfrog. 

F-35I Adir is a 'monster', with its own frequency hopping EW system
Photo credit: IAF

Israel, ever vigilant, likely has its own versions of this advanced EW technology. They’ve tailored it to the types of threats they anticipate in the region, such as Iranian air defenses or electronic guidance systems used in weapons fired by Israel’s regional adversaries. It’s a high-stakes game of cat and mouse in the skies.


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