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December 13, 2015 3:21 pm

Israel Weighs Purchase of Special Aircraft to Maintain Edge Over Iran Proxy Hezbollah

avatar by David Daoud

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The F-35 B jet that Israel is considering buying. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The F-35 B jet that Israel is considering buying. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel is weighing the purchase of a fleet of vertical-landing aircraft, to maintain its edge over Hezbollah, the Israeli news site Walla reported on Sunday.

The planes under consideration are Lockheed Martin’s Short Takeoff, Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35Bs.

Unlike other variants of the F-35 Lightning II, the F-35B — originally designed to replace the United States Marine Corps’ Harrier Jets — does not require a long strip of runway for take-off, and can land vertically, like a helicopter.

The F-35B would enable Israeli pilots to continue carrying out missions, even if their air bases and landing strips are targeted and put out of commission. With terrorist organization Hezbollah’s continued acquisition of advanced, highly accurate, long-range missiles from Iran, this is increasingly becoming a realistic threat, according to Walla.

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  • tom

    for the cost of even one $500 million plane, israel could buy 10 iron dome batteries – enough to cover the whole country, let alone defend one or two northern airbases. (the second plane’s cost would buy enough interceptor rockets for the next decade.)

    it would also be enough to equip the entire north of israel with iron beam systems.

    or, since concrete and asphalt are cheap, to harden those bases to be able to withstand rocket attacks.

  • shloime

    is this really a good idea?

    the f-35b is complex and expensive, making it less than the ideal aircraft to operate from improvised airfields. its main strength is its (half-assed) stealth, which might be useful against an enemy with a modern air force, which hezbollah doesn’t have. and in the attack role, once the design of its bomb bay doors is updated, it will be able to carry 8 small diameter bombs. and it won’t be able to deploy most of its weapons until 2022, when the software is ready.

    the f-15 strike eagle costs half as much to buy and maintain, is available now, and can carry 28 small diameter bombs. even operating from southern air bases, it would provide more capability than the f-35, with the option of up to 7x the firepower for the same cost.

    the only thing it doesn’t have is that “new car smell”.

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