Over the long years of its development, the F-35 fighter jet has been pummeled from every angle. What haven’t we heard: It’s overweight and underpowered; it’s a single engine when it should be a twin; its engine may suffer from a serious design and structural problem; its wings are too short, its stealth capacity too tenuous, its cost too prohibitive.
But as Russia seeks to increase its influence in the region, shopping around its cutting edge air-defense weaponry — notably including the S-300 missile-defense system, which President Vladimir Putin has promised to deliver to Iran in the wake of the nuclear framework agreement reached earlier this month — the Israeli Air Force is flying to the F-35’s defense. In a recent interview with The Times of Israel, conducted prior to the Russian announcement, the IAF’s point man for the acquisition and integration of the F-35, who has been immersed in the project since 2005, robustly backed the purchase and put it into historical perspective, noting that every leap forward has faced a near wall of opposition at the onset. Continue reading