F-35 can identify and destroy cruise missiles - Lockheed Martin

AESA radar can intercept low-flying high-speed airborne threats

The Lockheed Martin F35 fighter jet plane, also known as the Adir, in a test flight (photo credit: LOCKHEED MARTIN AERONAUTICS/ LIZ LUTZ)
The Lockheed Martin F35 fighter jet plane, also known as the Adir, in a test flight
Amid concerns that Iran may attack Israel with cruise missiles, a senior Lockheed Martin representative revealed on Tuesday that the stealth F-35 Adir fighter jet can detect and intercept such threats.
Gary North, vice president for customer requirements and aeronautics, told reporters that the AN/APG-81 AESA radar allows the advanced jet to identify and intercept airborne threats flying at a low altitude and at high speeds, like cruise missiles.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have warned in recent weeks of the threat posed by the Islamic Republic, which they say is getting bolder and more willing to respond to IAF attacks on Iran and Iranian-backed militias and infrastructure.
Tehran has several rockets that can reach Israel, including the Khoramshahr 2 with a range of 2,000 km. Thousands more rockets are positioned in Syria and Iraq. Israel is defended from this missile threat by a multi-level protective umbrella which is continuously being upgraded. The Iron Dome is designed to shoot down short-range rockets; the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 system intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere; and David’s Sling intercepts tactical ballistic missiles and medium- to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 and 300 km.
Israel has also activated its three Patriot system batteries against suspicious aerial objects, including downing drones and a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet, which infiltrated into the Golan Heights last year.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 Adir jets have a low radar signature, allowing the planes to operate undetected deep inside enemy territory, as well as to evade advanced missile defense systems like the Russian-made S-300 and S-400, which have been deployed in Syria.
“Against a high-threat environment, the F-35 is absolutely the weapon of choice. Stealth allows the pilots to go wherever they have to go,” North said, adding that the pilots “are confident in carrying out their missions.”
The jet can fly at Mach 1.6 at a height of 17,000 m., has a range of 2,000 km., and can stay airborne for 3.5 hours before refueling. With close air-support capabilities and a massive array of sensors, stealth jet pilots have unparalleled access to information and to the most advanced electronic warfare capabilities.
The IAF currently has 20 F-35 Adir aircraft, and is expected to receive 50 more planes to make two squadrons by 2024.
North said that the IAF, which is set to decide on a third squadron of F-35s or the advanced F-15i, is examining the improvements made to the capabilities of the aircraft, such as improved weapons carrying capacity, and has sent a request for information with specific requirements.
The IAF is leaning to a mix of the F-35 and F-15i, allowing the air force to carry out complex operations, including any confrontation with Iran.