Photo Credit: Screenshot
F-35 in trial run.

Lockheed-Martin is studying an Israel request for a longer flight range that would make refueling easier.

The manufacturer of the F-35 stealth attack plane, which Israel might use to attack Iran, is examining an Israeli request to extend the flight range by 30 percent, Amir Rapaport of the Israel Defense website reported Thursday.

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Approximately 1,000 miles (1,500 kilometers) separate Israel and Iran, and the current F-35 is designed to fly approximately the same distance without refueling.

The IDF has asked the range to be extended to 1,500 miles, according to Rapaport.

That still would require refueling before Israeli attack planes could return home, but a longer flight range would preclude refueling en route or having to use a base closer to Iran, such as Azerbaijan. A longer flight range also would widen the choices where Israeli pilots could land for refueling on their way home from a bombing mission.

Israel Defense noted that special versions of the F-15 and F-16 include additional fuel tanks, but that option is less practical for the F-35. Even adding fuel capacity by 30 percent would make the airplane larger, challenge engineers to retain the F-35’s stealth capabilities.

IAF teams reportedly are working with Lockheed-Martin in Texas before the first F-35s are due to arrive in Israel towards the end of 2016.

As in the previous planes, Israel has introduced several improvements for the stealth fighter.
Rapaport wrote that sources said:

Israel will significantly improve the aircraft as it once did with the F-15 and F-16.

The F-35 is considered by many Israeli defense officials to be its answer to Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon if an agreement between the P5+1 powers and Tehran does not halt the program.
Below: Video of F-35 in action

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Israel does NOT need to attack Iran…Israel must work for: 1) a strong Israel with all it’s citizens, including Judea and. Samaria Jews…2) enforce the law, some Israel areas are lawless..3).No Fakestine, cannot give it ti ISIS -Hamas terrorist, defend the Northen border of the Golan…..

  2. It’s on time that Israel considers all Arab countries enemies. Don’t fool yourself no Arab government is to be trusted not even those who have signed a piece of paper. Prepare for all eventualities; Iran is at the play of course but beware of Jordan as well. Get a tighter grab on Judea and Samaria, and be armed with the newest military hard- and software. Then it can’t go entirely wrong.

  3. I suggest all people talking about the possibility of Israel bombing Iran's atomic bomb facilities to read Aviation Week's assessment of the possibility. Aviation Week's assessment is that it is impossible. In order to make the round trip the aircraft, even equipped with conformable fuel tanks would only be able to carry one 1000 lb bomb each. Because the facilities are built underground a perpetrator bomb would have to be used. Most of the energy would be expended getting through the top of the facilitates. Very little damage would be done by each bomb. About 2000bombs would bee needed to do meaningful damage. Israel does not have enough modern fighter bombers to sustain a 2000 sortey air strike. Iran has one of the best air defense-systems in the world; which would vastly complicate any raid.

  4. I suggest people dreaming of Israel attacking Iran's atomic bomb facilities look up Iranian Air force in Wikipedia. Iran has a larger air force than Israel. Iran has a modern air defense system in operation. Iran has a order for 200 more of Russia's most modern fighter aircraft and 200 S-300 ground to air missiles.

  5. The Iranian air defenses are antiquated. They have yet to receive even a single S-300 missile battery, and most of their fighters are 1970s era warplanes without spares, left over from the Shah. The hurdle to an Israeli attack on Iran is the range, not the Iranian Air Force, which has been so depleted by theological purges as to be barely worthy of that name.

  6. The F-35 is problematic for the Israeli Air Force in large part because it's the only game in town. It's the ONLY stealth fighter being offered for export, and it was designed for the much shorter range requirements of Europe and the Cold War. Adding external fuel tanks would eliminate its stealth properties, the only advantage that it has over its F-15 and F-16 predecessors.

    It's at times like this that Israel will really regret canceling the Lavi fighter program, and the indigenous, Israeli development capability that went with it. If Israel had had that experience base to work from, we would today be talking about plans for an Israeli stealth fighter, not how to make the most of whatever short-range, sub-standard machine the U.S. feels inclined to sell.

  7. What Aviation Week analysis are you referring to? The only report that I recall was a review of a CSIS study published on Oct 22, 2012 which concluded that "Israel alone, or in concert with the U.S." could potentially set back Iran's nuclear program by "at least 5-10 years".

    To quote Israel's Air Force commander from an interview in Aviation Week from this past May 21, "Our duty is to provide the political echelon with a relevant practical tool . . . The decision not to use it does not reflect on the quality of the tool that we are providing."

  8. Rami Chaveri The Jerusalem Post reported that Iran has signed an arms deal with the Russian Rosoboronexport arms group to buy 250 Su-30MKM warplanes and 20 Il-78 MKI aerial tankers. It is reported that Israeli defense officials were investigating the potential Iran–Russia deal, in which Iran would pay $1 billion a dozen squadrons’ worth of the jets.[10] Iran and Russia have both denied this and have rejected these claims as propaganda.[11][12][13] In a recent broadcast the "Mehr News Agency" has reported that they (the reporters) saw a dozen Su 30s in a maneuver that took place on 15 and 16 September 2008; further the report reads: "In this joint maneuver of the IRIAF and the AFAGIR which is called the 'Guardians of the Nations Skies' the Air Forces of Iran have tested domestically developed systems as well as newly purchased systems (from Russia and China)."[14] The harsh warnings of Israel that it could attack Iran at any time and the Russo-American conflict over Georgia have led to reported weapons sales to Iran by Russia, but so far there have no details been revealed by either side.

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