The Israeli Air Force is working to double the flight range of the F-35 Stealth strike fighters to equip it for the challenges of the Mideast after the Iran nuclear deal.
“With an eye on Iran and other complex, heavily defended theaters,” Israel is building infrastructure and local capabilities for operating the Adir, manufactured by Lockheed Martin to Israeli specifications, Globes reported on Wednesday, quoting Defense News.
The first two Adirs will be delivered to the Israel Air Force (IAF) in December 2016.
“The Stealth and other advanced capabilities provided by this fifth-generation fighter are self-evident,” an Israeli air force officer said when asked how the F-35 would maintain superiority over advanced anti-air systems, like the Russian S-300, in the pipeline for Iran.
“Your options for attacking the enemy [with the stealth fighters] are much more numerous and practical. The things that we could do before will entail much less risk, and the things we might not have been able to do before will be rendered doable.”
The officer added that the stealth fighters change “the psychology of the arena by allowing you to hit the enemy without him being able to stop you … It really is a game-changer, and the enemy knows that.”
Sources in the U.S. confirmed that it is collaborating with the Israelis on such ideas as possibly detachable fuel tanks so as to extend their range.