Here’s What You Need To Remember: Just how good is the F-35? We might just find out. A Kuwaiti newspaper created stir years back when it reported that Israel’s new F-35 stealth fighters had flown over Iran.
“The fighters crossed Syrian airspace into Iraqi airspace, including to Iran, where they carried out reconnaissance missions and targets in the areas of Bandar Abbas, Isfahan and Shiraz, flying at a high altitude over other sites suspected of a relationship with Iran’s nuclear program,” according to an “informed source” quoted by the newspaper Al-Jarida (Google Arabic translation here).
The F-35s were allegedly not detected either by Iran or Russian radar based in Syria, according to the article.
So did the incident really happen? First, if the incident were true, that would mean that operational missions are already being flown by the F-35I Adir (“Mighty”), the Israeli version of the Lockheed Martin fighter. Israel currently has only nine of them, and the first squadron was declared operational only late last year. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has a well-earned reputation for boldness, but there is a difference between being bold and foolhardy.
IAF pilots and planners have barely had time to acclimate to a fifth-generation aircraft different from the fourth-generation F-15s and F-16s they currently operate. Even the U.S. military is struggling to fix numerous bugs in the F-35.