See This F-35? Israel Took America’s Most Lethal Stealth Fighter and Made It Better
In 2018, a now-famous photo leaked of an Israeli F-35 fighter jet flying over Beirut. The image encapsulates a core truth—that this stealth aircraft, with its unprecedented ability to use advanced sensors to gather intelligence on enemy activities on the ground, evade enemy detection, and share its data across the military’s network, has become a prime tool in the Israeli shadow war against the activities of the Iranian axis in the region.
On January 25, 2021, Lebanese photographers snapped images of the aircraft flying overhead, suggesting that the planes are routinely gathering intelligence on Hezbollah as well as on Iranian and Shiite militia activity in the region.
By 2024, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) will possess 50 stealth F-35s, which operate out of the Nevatim Air Force Base in southern Israel. The IAF is hoping to acquire a third squadron of F-35s—which would bring the fleet up to 75—though Israeli budgetary and political uncertainty are holding up this critical decision.
The F-35 squadrons perform an array of tasks during routine periods and wars. But they are also likely playing a major and growing role in Israel’s “campaign between the wars”—the shadow war aimed at disrupting Iran’s plan to build a new terror army in Syria, as well as Iran’s efforts to strengthen Hezbollah’s firepower in Lebanon.
The F-35 has become so central to these efforts that other air forces around the world are eager to learn from the IAF’s experience, which began when the first two jets landed in Israel in 2016.
In 2018, IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin confirmed that Israel was the first country to use the aircraft to strike targets in combat. (BESACENTER)
Israel has also been a proponent of a two-seat variant of the F-35.
FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE CLICK LINK