On Jul. 9, 2019 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tehran that Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-35I fighter jets can reach “anywhere in the Middle East,” in response to threats by Iranian officials in recent weeks. Last Week Iran official threatened that Israel will be destroyed in 30 minutes if Iran is attacked by America
“Iran recently has been threatening Israel’s destruction,” Netanyahu said at an Israeli air force base, where he viewed a squadron of advanced U.S.-built F-35 warplanes.
“It should remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran, and certainly Syria,” he said in a YouTube video clip filmed at the base, with an F-35 in the background.
Netanyahu held a meeting at the base with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Air Force Commander Maj.Gen. Amikam Norkin and the Air Force Commanders’ Forum.
The Israeli Air Force currently has 14 F-35i Adir aircraft and is expected to receive a total of 50 planes to make two full squadrons by 2024.
The Israeli F-35i Adirs have taken part in several operations in the region over the past two years, making the Jewish State the first country to use the stealth fighter in a combat role in the region.
In late April the IAF opened the second squadron of F-35i stealth fighter jets called “Defenders of the Negev” with the first planes expected to arrive at the beginning of next year.
The stealth jets have an extremely low radar signature allowing the jet to operate undetected deep inside enemy territory as well as evade advanced missile defense systems like the S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems which have been deployed in countries such as Syria.
With close air-support capabilities and a massive array of sensors, pilots of the stealth jet have unparalleled access to information while in the air.
Iran and Israel’s comments come against the backdrop of increased tension between Iran and the US, and as the Islamic Republic is openly declaring that it is violating the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Photo credit: Major Ofer / Israeli Air Force