TEL AVIV, (BM) – Israel wants more F-35s. Benny Gantz, Israel’s defense minister, said that he would want to buy an additional, third, F-35I Adir multi-role aircraft squadron for his country, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. This action is due to the possibility of selling similar aircraft to the United Arab Emirates.
The “two squadrons” F-35I purchased so far include 50 aircraft; 23 have already delivered. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates received approval in recent months to sell a similar number of machines.
The announcement of retooling the third unit in Adira would be equivalent to increasing their number to 75 units. Interestingly, the Israelis would like to obtain confirmation of the possibility of selling these aircraft before the end of Donald Trump’s rule, i.e., by January 20, 2021.
Paradoxically, the politician whose government has approved the sale of UAE aircraft that seems in Israel as the one who can quickly and without generating “unnecessary problems” leads to the approval of new machines for Israel. All this is due to Trump’s policy of selling arms to a broader range of foreign buyers, without being politically or “moral” in nature as Barak Obama did before him, who thus led, among others, to the loss of the export market for US arms in Egypt.
An application for approval to sell additional F-35s to Israel has already been dispatched so that official US approval may appear in the coming days. In a recent Israeli television interview, Benny Gantz said that after purchasing an additional squadron, he would “consider” how to develop Israeli aviation further to “maintain balance” with other Middle Eastern nations – whether to continue buying the F-35 or the F-15. The latter, probably in a variant similar to the American F-15EX standard.
The Israeli F-35Is are the first planes of this family that has been used in combat. They reached initial operational readiness at the end of 2017 and were used first time against Syria in May 2018. Since then, they have attacked multiple times – mainly Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq. According to unconfirmed information, in July 2018, several such machines were even supposed to venture over Iran’s capital, Tehran, thus testing their stealth properties.
New version of the 5th-generation F-35 stealth fighter arrived in Israel for testing
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, BulgarianMilitary.com reported on November 13.
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.
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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