Netanyahu: Israel Air Force at the peak of its abilities

F-35A produced by Lockheed Martin (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that Israel would defend itself from radical Islam, Iran and Hamas, reporting that the Israel Air Force is at the “peak of its capabilities.”

Speaking at a graduation ceremony for Israel Air Force pilots Hatzerim Air Base, Netanyahu praised the IAF, boasting of Israel having the best planes and best pilots in the world. He began his address stating, “Today the [Israeli] air force is at the peak of its abilities, with the best technological tools, the best planes in the world, the best pilots in the world, with offensive and defensive capabilities and with awesome firepower that can reach both short-range and distant targets as necessary.”

The prime minister addressed the threats of radical Islam, Hamas and Iran, stating, “We continue to face major challenges in the north, south and east. On all of these fronts we find the arms of radical Islam, which has already caused terrible disasters in our region but not in our state,” referring to Israel as “an island in a very stormy sea”, stating “We are guarding our security based on a clear policy: We will not allow Iranian military forces to establish bases in Syria in order to attack us and we will act to prevent the manufacture of precise and deadly weapons aimed at us.”

On the Gaza Strip and Israel’s efforts to not harm the civilian population during attacks, Netanyahu stated “we want the local population to live its life quietly and calmly but the decision as to whether or not there is quiet in Gaza depends, first of all, on Gaza. We will neither allow nor tolerate any escalation on the part of Hamas or any other terrorist element against the State of Israel. We will use all means to defend our sovereignty and the security of Israeli citizens.”

On Israel’s defense systems, from the Iron Dome to systems detecting tunnels from the Gaza Strip, he said “We are taking care to develop our strength on land, at sea and in the air, and in intelligence and cyber. We frequently outpace the world in identifying and meeting new challenges. We did this with active defense systems, including Iron Dome and other systems. We are currently doing so with tunnels and we are justly proud of our technology.

On the “new threat” and “challenge” of drones, the prime minister reported, “Here as well we are at the forefront and the Israeli Air Force is adapting itself and developing the most advanced counter technology in the world.”

In early December, the IAF announced five of its F-35 “Adir” have completed tests and drills and are “fully operational”. The F-35 is capable of carrying over 16 tons of bombs and missiles and is most unique for having the most advanced stealth technology of any aircraft. The F-35 is also Israel’s solution to the S-300, as it is capable of evading the air defense system.

Israel is the first country aside from the United States to acquire the world’s most advanced fighter jets. Israel received nine F-35’s in total. Israel is set to receive a total of 50 F-35’s, Israel’s security cabinet having approved the $1.5 billion purchases as part of the United States and Israel’s Memorandum of Understanding. Israel’s security cabinet approved the purchase of 14 jets in 2014, the number rising to 50 with reports that Israel intends to purchase a total of 75 jets.

Israel has heavily contributed to the F-35’s development. While Lockheed Martin have created and produced the fighter jets, Israel’s Elbit System and Israel Aerospace Industries have created parts for the fighter jets. The helmets for the jets were also jointly created by Elbit and Rockwell Collins.

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, December 28, 2017, and reposted with permission.