The Israeli Air Force has activated its second squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35A fifth generation fighters, the ‘Lions of the South,’ making it one of very few countries to field multiple stealth fighter squadrons.

The F-35A is a single engine multi-role combat jet designed as a lighter and less costly analogue to the twin engine F-22 Raptor, and is the first stealth fighter in the world to be marketed for export.

Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin announced at the squadron’s inauguration ceremony.

The Air Force shoulders a great responsibility daily. From this moment, the 116th Squadron returns and becomes part of our strategic arm, part of our qualitative advantage over our Muslim enemies.

The challenges that stand before you are many and varied. Now we are stronger.” The 116th squadron previously flew F-16 Fighting Falcons, the fourth generation predecessor to the F-35, from 2003 until 2015, and was subsequently disbanded.

Israel declared its first F-35A fighters operational in 2017, after receiving them in December the previous year, and plans to field at least 50 of the next generation aircraft alongside older F-16 and F-15 platforms.

A further order for 25 F-15I fighters is also planned, and while the jets lack the F-35’s stealth capabilities they can carry larger radars and are considerably faster, longer ranged and more maneuverable.

While the F-35’s situational awareness and extremely powerful sensors and electronic warfare systems provide a formidable asset, the fighter itself is very far from fully combat ready – and is not yet suited to engaging near peer adversaries or high intensity missions such as the penetration of enemy air defenses.

Until the F-35 achieves this operational capability, likely some time after 2025, Israel will continue to rely heavily on non-stealth aircraft such as the F-15I for strike missions beyond its borders against well defended targets.

Military Watch Magazine / ABC Flash-Point News 2023.

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Karl not telling You
Karl not telling You
18-05-23 13:21

Useless crap, easy targets for defense systems?

Lady Shadow
Lady Shadow
18-05-23 13:24

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