Report: Israeli F-35s successfully penetrated Iranian airspace – The Islamic Republic of Iran has long suggested it was capable of tracking the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, and two years ago Tehran claimed the Russian-made Rezonans-NE radar, which Iran bought to identify and track stealth aircraft. and hypersonic targets, had successfully spotted and tracked US F-35 fighters near the country’s borders in early 2020.
Russian sources said in August of that year that the Rezonans-NE had followed the Lightning IIs near the Iranian border in the days following the US drone attack that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
“In early 2020, this radar identified American F-35 aircraft and tracked them,” Rezonans Alexander Stuchilin, deputy director general of the Rezonans Alexander Stuchilin Research Center, told Tass at the Army-International Military-Technical Forum. 2020. “The radar personnel transmitted information, including the routes of the F-35 flights, in the clear, thus confirming that they reliably tracked the planes. For this reason, the opponent did not commit any irreparable actions that would have could cause a great war.
However, a year earlier, other reports had noted that Russian S-300 and S-400 air defense systems had been unable to detect Israeli F-35s flying over Syria.
Then and now – F-35 cannot be seen
Just as Russian anti-aircraft platforms were unable to detect Israeli F-35s over Syria three years ago, this week it was reported that fifth-generation stealth fighters had managed to penetrate Iranian airspace several times in the past two months – if the reports are correct.
19fortyfive has not been able to independently confirm any such reports to date.
According to a report by London-based Elaph, the jets managed to evade Russian and Iranian radars during the drills. In addition, drones and air-to-air tankers would also have taken part in the “massive” exercises. Israel has stepped up its drills as efforts continue to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and Western powers.
Israel has pledged to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb, preparing military action to use against Tehran if necessary,
According to Elaph, Israel and the United States conducted secret exercises over the Red Sea, which included simulating a strike against Iran from the sea and air and seizing Iranian warships. Additionally, Israeli submarines secretly monitor the Iranian spy ship Behshad and its escort Jamaran, as well as the helicopter landing ship Hingham. The three Iranian ships would now be stationed in the Red Sea.
The Behshad is registered as a general cargo ship, but is believed to be a spy ship collecting intelligence on the strategic waterway for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
F-35 over Iran
The fact that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) deployed the aircraft – likely the localized F-35I “Adir” variant – over Iran speaks to its capabilities, but also to the seriousness of the Jerusalem’s fear that Tehran will develop nuclear weapons.
“This indicates that the Israelis have great confidence in the aircraft’s survivability in Iranian airspace, but do not know where they entered – and therefore what Iran’s air defenses looked like in that sector. – the path they took, or how long they dragged on,” explained Dr. Robert Farley, assistant professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, in an interview with 19fortyfive. “I’m also a bit curious about the reported US involvement, which doesn’t really make sense to me.”
The F-35I Adir: the ‘stealth’ backbone of the Israeli Air Force
Israel had become the first foreign country to select the F-35 through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process when a letter of agreement was signed more than a decade ago in October 2010. June 22, 2016, the IAF received its first F-35A in a ceremony at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
The IAF is particularly unique in that it also operates a special variant that was developed to address concerns that the stealth capabilities of the F-35 could be partially overcome within a decade despite the 30-40 lifespan. years of the plane. Israel sought to use its own Electronic Warfare System (EWS), and while the United States initially refused to allow such changes, it was eventually agreed that the IAF could integrate its own EWS, including sensors and countermeasures, in addition to American systems.
Additionally, IAF pilots use a locally developed helmet-mounted display and IDF-specific bespoke datalink functionality, while other enhancements have further improved data collection and processing capabilities. already powerful from the F-35. These various improvements to the stealth aircraft were significant enough to warrant the “I” designation, making the F-35I one of the few officially recognized F-35 variants. The Israeli Air Force has designated the F-35I as the Adir, which means “Mighty” in Hebrew.
Two IAF squadrons are equipped with the aircraft, including the 116th Lions of the South Squadron and the 140th Golden Eagle Squadron based at Nevatim Airbase. The IAF also has a third squadron used for training.
Biography of the expert: An editor since 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites with more than 3,000 articles published during a twenty-year career in journalism. He writes regularly on military hardware, the history of firearms, cybersecurity and international affairs. Peter is also a contributing writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.