An Israeli Air Force F-35
© Amir Cohen / Reuters
FILE PHOTO: An Israeli Air Force F-35
The IAF must increasingly rely on the futuristic stealth capabilities of the troubled F-35 jet if it's to continue its raids with impunity, after Syria's air-defenses were boosted with S-300 systems, Israeli army radio reports.

Tel Aviv's self-reserved right to freely strike 'Iranian targets' anywhere inside or outside Syria was severely undermined by Moscow's transfer of S-300 air defense systems and accompanying hardware to Damascus. The surface-to-air interceptors delivered to the Syrian Arab Army, as well as Moscow's resolve to jam the radar, navigation, and communications systems on any aircraft attacking targets in Syria via the Mediterranean coast might complicate missions for Israeli F-15s and F-16s. So, to avert potential threats to their fighter planes, Israel will rely more on the F-35 to carry out its missions in Syria, Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) reported.

"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," a source within IAF told the radio station, also emphasizing that Israel has every intention to use this "most expensive weapon in the world."


In recent years, Tel Aviv purchased 50 F-35 units, known in Israel by their Hebrew name, the 'Adir,' from Lockheed Martin, at the cost of $125 million each. Eight of the planes have already been transferred to Israel, while 33 more are expected to arrive by 2021, an IAF source said.

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.

Russia's move to secure the Syrian airspace with S-300 complexes follows the downing of the Il-20 reconnaissance plane over Syria by Damascus' dated air defense system. Moscow pinned the blame for the death of the 15 servicemen on Tel Aviv, asserting that the tragedy occurred because four Israeli F-16 jets used the Russian plane as a cover during an air raid in the Latakia province.

Tel Aviv denied responsibility, shifting the blame on Damascus and Tehran, and stressing that it will continue to strike 'Iranian targets' in Syria. Israel, however, pledged to boost coordination between the IDF and the Russian militaries, to avoid any further unfortunate incidents in the Syrian skies.



Comment: Sputnik reports:
Israel Will Demand New Weapons From US Amid S-300 Supply to Syria - Scholar

On Tuesday, Russia announced the delivery of batteries of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

In an interview with Sputnik, Egyptian expert on Israel Muhammed Ali said that now that Syria has received S-300 air defense missiles from Russia, Tel Aviv will insist on getting similar weapons from the United States.

He added that the statement Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made on Facebook on Tuesday about his country's right to self-defense amply proved this.

"Israel realizes that with the deployment of S-300 systems in Syria, it will no longer be able to provide emergency help to militants by striking Syrian military installations from the air," the expert noted.

This means that Israel is losing its leverage on the situation in Syria and it will now be working hard to obtain new weapons.

"Donald Trump is not looking for any further confrontation with Russia in Syria as he has his hands full sorting out numerous problems and crises in his own country and the continuing protests over the US embassy move to Jerusalem," Dr. Ali said.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the US government and Congress for the historic 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US and Israel on security assistance to the Jewish state.

"I thank the American administration and Congress for their commitment to Israel and also for the American financial assistance in the coming decade," Netanyahu stated.

The MOU, signed in September 2016, guarantees Israel $38 billion in security aid over the coming decade.

This is the largest military assistance package that the United States has ever given to any country.

Speaking on Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Tel Aviv wasn't "happy" about the S-300s deliveries to Syria, but it could not give up on its military operations in the war-ravaged country.

"I cannot say that we are happy about the deployment of the S-300s. At the same time, we have no choice here. We have no opportunity to make decisions [on military operations in Syria]," he said.

[...]
[...]

The US Air Force may employ F-22 stealth fighters and F-16CJ Vipers to suppress and destroy enemy air defenses in response to Russia's deployment of S-300 surface-to air missile systems to Syria's government, the Drive wrote.

The US already used the F-22s and F-16CJs during the opening stages of its military campaign in Syria when it was not yet clear how Syrian government forces might respond to their appearance in the country's airspace.

Washington may have to return to such tactics, though it already continues to employ F-22s in areas near Syrian government control, the magazine wrote.

[...]

According to Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russian experts have already begun teaching Syrian troops to operate the S-300 systems, and the training is expected to finish within three months. The deliveries are intended to boost the security of Russian troops in Syria.
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