The Israeli Air Force has upgraded its F-35 fighter jets to be able to reach Iran without mid-air refueling, the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said that a new one-ton bomb has been integrated into the planes’ arsenal without jeopardizing the stealth radar signature that disguises the aircraft from air defenses. The bomb was developed by the Haifa-based, state-owned corporation Rafael Advanced Weapons Systems and is said to be protected against jamming.
Israel has 33 F-35s advanced aircraft made by the United States company Lockheed Martin, and expects to have 50 by 2024. Its air-force has conducted four large-scale military drills simulating attacks against Iran in the last month.
In the first drill, the Air Force exercised confronting Iranian radar and detection systems, like those which protect its nuclear installations. The second included simulating long-range combat flights -- in this case to destinations in Europe -- and cooperation between the fourth and fifth generation of its fighter jets. The other ones included defensive measures against cyber weapons and electronic warfare systems that could be used by Iran to undermine a military operation.
Iran Wednesday announced that it had turned off two monitoring cameras used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at Iranian nuclear sites, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged the IAEA to take measures so that Iran paid a “heavy price” for advancing its nuclear program.
Israel has opposed restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (the JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), which came to a halt in March reportedly over Iran’s demands to remove its Revolutionary Guard from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.