Israel-US F-35 deal ‘targets Iran, Syria defense’

Israel’s plans to buy US F-35 fighters indicate its desire to be able to penetrate the Russian air defense systems Iran and Syria are set to receive, a report says.
F-35 fighter aircraft can make the S-300 air defense systems ineffective, as computer simulations have shown that the new US stealth fighters outperform Russian missiles, Ria Novosti cited officials in Tel Aviv as saying.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), made by Lockheed Martin, is expected to be one of the most-advanced fighter jets in the world, said the Russian news agency, quoting a passage from a Jerusalem Post article.

Last week, Tel Aviv forwarded an ‘official request’ for the F-35 stealth fighter jets to the US Department of Defense, hoping to replace some of its older F-15 and F-16s with the new model.

Several days later there were reports that the two sides had reached an ‘understanding’ over the purchase after some initial disagreements.

The final price for the model, estimated at over $100 million, and technical details of the deal still remain to be determined however.

According to the Post, Tel Aviv has asked the US to integrate Israeli-made electronic warfare and communication systems into the planes.

Israel also wants its own technicians to have the necessary training to maintain the planes, if technical or structural problems occur.

Predictions are that the final contract will be signed in early 2010 with the US promising to deliver a third of the 75 estimated F-35 fighters to Israel by 2014.

According to the Israeli daily, Tel Aviv will try to purchase another 50 US military aircraft in the future, some of them with vertical take-off and landing capabilities.

This is while a version of the F-35 that is already on the Israeli buying list can carry out short takeoffs and vertical-landings.

Despite efforts by Israel and its ally the US to thwart Iran’s S-300 air defense system deal with Russia, Moscow has announced that it is committed to the contract.

The latest version of the S-300 family is thought to be one of the world’s most effective all-altitude air defense systems.

The S-300PMU2 Favorit, which is comparable to the US MIM-104 Patriot system, has a range of up to 195 and can intercept aircraft and ballistic missiles at altitudes of 10 meters to 27 kilometers.