Key point: Israeli F-35s are operating in the region and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Iran that the planes can reach whatever targets they need to.
The F-35 radar is the most advanced for fighter jets, according to F-35 developer Lockheed Martin. “It enables the F-35 to be capable of identifying and intercepting airborne threats flying at a low altitude and at high speeds,” a company spokesman said on December 18. That’s important considering the emerging threats Israel now faces from Iran and Iranian-backed groups such as Hezbollah which are seeking precision guidance for their rocket arsenal. Iran is accused of using cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia in September. The F-35’s radar can play a role in neutralizing these kinds of threats.
Gary North, vice-president for customer requirements for Lockheed Martin says that the F-35 AN/APG-81 AESA radar can enable the interception of low altitude airborne threats. The radar is a key element of the F-35 supplied by Northrop Grumman. It is an active electronically scanned array that provides situational awareness and a view of the battlespace. “The electronically scanned nature of the AESA allows it to quickly scan any direction, compared to a mechanically scanned radar,” Avionics International notes. It sponges up data and enables the F-35 to perform its mission in combination with all the other technology and data links that fifth-generation militaries are using today. Missile Defense Review noted in early 2019 that the F-35 can “track and destroy adversary cruise missiles” and pointed out the aircraft will have other missile defense capabilities.