Israel to Purchase Third Squadron of F-35 Stealth Aircraft, Ministerial Committee Approves 

By Arie Egozi

Defence Industry
Tel Aviv: The Israeli ministerial committee for defence procurement approved the purchase of the third squadron of F-35 (Adir) stealth aircraft. This comes after months of delay due to political issues in the Israeli government. 
Israel has signed contracts for the supply of two F-35 squadrons, 50 aircraft. Till date 39 have been delivered. Forecast is that all the 50 will be delivered by the end of 2025.
The local changes made by the Israeli airforce (IAF) in its F-35’s are the main reason for the decision to perform heavy maintenance in Israel and not send the stealth aircraft to a European maintenance centre. The changes are being made by Israel to make the stealth aircraft more capable to carry out potential attacks (as and when required) on the nuclear sites in Iran.
In a recent joint exercise with neighboring countries, European countries and the US,  the Israeli air force (IAF) has tested some of the modifications made to its  F-35 stealth fighter to make it more capable in a potential attack on Iran.
Israeli defence sources said that the capabilities that were tested for the first time, focused on an extended flight of the F-35 without aerial refueling.
No details were given about this capability but sources here said that it was developed by the flight test centre of the IAF with one of the Israeli defence company.
Sources here were only ready to say that the F-35 operated by the IAF will carry more fuel “in special tanks”. This in the non-stealth phase of the flight.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has developed special fuel tanks for different types of fighter aircraft.
The F-35 test aircraft operated by the IAF’s main test unit has been also equipped with systems that enable it to fly and launch weapon systems in an EW saturated area.
The new friendship between Russia and Iran enabled Tehran to get updated data about the EW systems carried by the IAF’s F-35. This data was achieved by the Russians in Syria that have been monitoring the operations of the IAF in Syria, while attacking Iranian related targets.
The test aircraft was also used to enhance the F-35 capabilities to intercept armed UAVs that Iran is making in a growing number. Iran is sending great numbers of these armed UAVs to Russia and they are being used in Ukraine. And they are being used now by the Hezbollah terror organisation operating in Lebanon.
The sales of the armed UAVs to Russia help Iran to develop new version with larger warheads.