Israel is to begin using F-35i stealth fighters to attack targets in Syria, according to a Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) report.
This decision comes after on October 1st Syria received its new S-300 surface-to-air missile defense systems. The new system, supplied to Syria by Russia, is aimed at boosting the security of Russian forces, according to Russian claims.
Galei Tzahal cited an anonymous source in the Israeli Air Force who said that in light of the situation in Syria, Israel has decided to increase the use of F-35 stealth fighter in its attacks on Syria.
The anonymous source explained that the Israeli Air Force expects to better handle the threat from Syria by utilizing its F-35i jets. Presumably the threat are the security forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, as well as Iranian forces, the presence of which Israel strongly opposes.
“The coming attacks won’t be the first, but they will be safer for the pilots in light of the new reality in Syria’s skies,” the anonymous source told Galei Tzahal.
“This is the most expensive weapon in the world, and it’s the most advanced airplane in the world. Israel paid 125 million for each plane, and the Defense Ministry purchased 50 of the Model A planes… Our planes are called the F-35I. Eight of the planes have already landed in Israel and 33 are expected to arrive by 2021.”
According to the technical characteristics of the US-made jets, the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system should, in theory, allow the jet to operate undetected inside enemy territory and to evade advanced missile defense systems such as the S-300 by suppressing its signals. Whether or not the F-35’s ‘stealth’ capabilities will be effective in real battle conditions is yet to be seen as, in the past, the aircraft, on top of hundreds of bugs and glitches in its systems, was experiencing radar problems, as reported by RT.
In May 2018, Israel claimed that it had become the first country to carry out airstrikes with F-35 fighter jets.
“We are flying the F-35 over the entire Middle East and that has become part of our operational capability,” Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said then. “We were the first in the world to attack with the F-35. The Israeli Air Force has twice carried out strikes with the F-35, on two different fronts.”
The move to reinforce Syrian air defenses comes after the downing of a Russian IL-20 plane by Damascus’S-200 missile defense system. Moscow pinned the blame for the death of the 15 servicemen on Tel Aviv, asserting that the tragedy occurred due to hostile actions from Israel’s side. Tel Aviv denied responsibility, shifting the blame on Damascus and Tehran, and stressing that it will continue to strike ‘Iranian targets’ in Syria.