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June 18, 2019 4:36 pm

For First Time, Israeli F-35s Take Part in Drill Simulating Multi-Front War

avatar by David Gerstman

An Israeli Air Force F-35 ‘Adir’ fighter jet. Photo: Major Ofer / Israeli Air Force.

For the first time, Israel’s advance F-35 fighter aircraft — called the “Adir” — participated in a combat simulation, Ynet reported on Tuesday.

The exercise is focused on defending against a multi-pronged attack consisting of thousands of missiles and rockets. The goal is to prepare the IAF to face advanced anti-aircraft threats, including the S-300 and S-400 systems, even though Israel’s enemies — including Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria – either do not have these systems or have not yet fully activated them.

The drill, which started Sunday and was slated to conclude Wednesday, involves the whole Israeli Air Force (IAF), including fighter planes, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Among the challenges facing the IAF in the exercise is operating the planes after enemies hit communication centers or damage runways.

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The F-35, which is a stealth aircraft, is largely invisible to enemy radar.

A senior officer told The Jerusalem Post that not only that the plane is faster, but it can also access areas that the IAF “hasn’t been able to get to before.”

In the wake of Hezbollah’s improvements to its rocket arsenal since its 2006 war with Israel, the expectation is that Israel’s homefront could be targeted with thousands of missiles and rockets.

One of the goals of the exercise, according to the officer, was “to be able to make it so there are only a few being launched and to intercept those that are launched.”

A senior IAF officer told reporters that the engineering teams servicing the F-35s were efficient. “Even when the plane hasn’t been on the ground for an hour, the workers surround it like a Formula 1,” the officer said.

Israel received its first F-35 jets, which are manufactured by Lockheed Martin, in December 2016. In 2017, the F-35s took part in Israel’s Independence Day air show for the first time.

This past December, Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced it had developed a component to make the F-35 totally invisible to radar.

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