F-35 fighter jets have the capacity to deal with advanced surface and airborne threats posed by missiles similar to Russian made S-300 Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems, Lockheed Martin director of F-35 international business development, Steve Over was quoted as saying by Jerusalem Post Wednesday.
Steve Over spoke to journalists a day after Russia announced that it was lifting a ban on the sale of the air defense system to Iran.
Countries like Russia and China “have the capacity to sell advanced air defenses and planes, and will sell to any nation with the money to buy them,” Over said.
The F-35, he added, “has the capacity” to deal with advanced surface and airborne threats, as well as being able to deal with ground insurgencies.
“Countries that own fourth generation fighter jets such as the F-16 can no longer invest in upgrades, as the platforms have reached their limit, and acquiring the F-35 is a leap forward in capabilities by some 15 years,” Over said.
In addition to its stealth functions and advanced maneuverability performance, the jet has advanced multi-spectral sensors that will provide the Israel Air Force with unprecedented situational awareness, he said.
“The pilot will know about his environment... It gives an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability that no nation has ever had,” Over said.
The F-35 flies faster and further, and has a greater “angle of attack” (making it more maneuverable) than the F-16, he said.
Unlike previous platforms, the F-35, due to its data links and sensors, can fly in formations in which planes are between 70 and 160 kilometers apart, and remain undetectable to enemy radars.
At Nevatim Air Base, southeast of Beersheba, the IAF unveiled a new F-35 demonstrator provided by Lockheed, which air force officials said will shorten the process of absorbing the new platform.
Although not a full flight simulator, the demonstrator allows pilots to become better acquainted with the plane, its software, targeting and avionics, said Brig.-Gen. Leehu Hacohen, commander of Nevatim Air Base.
Hacohen described the S-300 as a “challenge to the air force,” adding, “We are preparing for a range of scenarios. The air force knows how to deal with complex challenges.”