US barring Israeli pilots with foreign passports from F-35 aircraft - report

This move by the US stems from an increasingly expanding focus on information security and safeguarding US interests.

An F-35i Adir jet in Nevatim base, southeast of Beersheba (photo credit: IDF)
An F-35i Adir jet in Nevatim base, southeast of Beersheba
(photo credit: IDF)

The US Defense Department and intelligence authorities are barring Israel Air Force (IAF) pilots with foreign passports from flying F-35 fighter jets, in fear of information security and technology leaks.

This move by the US stems from an increasingly expanding focus on information security and safeguarding US interests. As a result, sources claim the IAF accepted this stipulation and gave up assigning pilots to F-35 Adir aircraft.

What is the F-35 Adir fighter jet?

The Adir fighter jet is a single-seater aircraft, a multi-mission stealth plane that can be used for intelligence gathering and attack missions. It is also the only fighter jet with a compartment for storing untraceable weaponry.

Each F-35 Adir fighter jet costs between $85 million and $100 million.

An F-35 on the runway during the Blue Flag drill (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)An F-35 on the runway during the Blue Flag drill (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

It can fly as fast as Mach 1.6 with a range of 2,200 kilometers. Israel has already purchased 50 of these aircraft from the US, with the possibility of buying 25 more in the future. In total, the IAF will have three operational IAF squadrons within a decade.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated develpment, US government officials recently reached out to the IDF and expressed concern about the fact that the Israeli military has cars made in China that are used by IDF officers.

The US expressed worries that Chinese cars with advanced multimedia systems could tag sensitive information from IDF officers' cellphones and store them in a Cloud network for Chinese intelligence.

However, a compromise was found on this issue, with sensitive information being transferred to a protected and secure Israeli Cloud system.

This is a developing story.