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Monday, April 20, 2015

Could Israeli F-35s turn the tables on Iranian S-300 missiles?

F-35 Lightning IIOver the long years of its development, the F-35 fighter jet has been pummeled from every angle. What haven’t we heard: It’s overweight and underpowered; it’s a single engine when it should be a twin; its engine may suffer from a serious design and structural problem; its wings are too short, its stealth capacity too tenuous, its cost too.

But as Russia seeks to increase its influence in the region, shopping around its cutting edge air-defense weaponry — notably including the S-300 missile-defense system, which President Vladimir Putin has promised to deliver to Iran in the wake of the nuclear framework agreement reached earlier this month — the Israeli Air Force is flying to the F-35’s defense.

In a recent interview with The Times of Israel, conducted prior to the Russian announcement, the IAF’s point man for the acquisition and integration of the F-35, who has been immersed in the project since 2005, robustly backed the purchase and put it into historical perspective, noting that every leap forward has faced a near wall of opposition at the onset.

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