Military Aviation

Israeli Air Force F-35I Adir strike fighters can now reach Iran without Aerial Refueling, they can carry new Rafael one-ton bomb

In face of Iran’s continued development of a nuclear capability, the Israeli Air Force has developed new capabilities for its F-35I Adir stealth fighter jets.

In face of Iran’s continued development of a nuclear capability, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has developed a new capability that allows to fly its F-35I Adir stealth fighter jets from Israel to the Islamic Republic without requiring mid-air refueling, The Jerusalem Post reports.

The development comes as the Israeli military has upped its preparations for a future strike against Iran’s nuclear capabilities and is a boost to IAF capabilities.

Moreover, the service has recently integrated a new one-ton bomb into the arsenal of weapons used by the F-35Is. The weapons can be carried inside the plane’s internal weapons bay without jeopardizing its stealth radar signature.

The bomb, built by Rafael Advanced Weapons Systems, is said to be autonomous and protected against jamming and electronic warfare systems.

The IAF used the bomb in a series of tests. The results were presented to Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the service has held four large-scale drills simulating attacks against Iran over the last month. The first drill included confronting Iranian radar and detection systems, like those that protect its nuclear installations. The second included simulating long-range combat flights – in this case to destinations in Europe. The other drills included defensive measures against cyber weapons and electronic warfare systems, means that could be used by Iran to undermine an Israeli military operation.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has recently told to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel’s Iran strategy has changed in the last year, and it is “acting against the head… and not just its arms, as we had in recent years.”

“Iran’s surface-to-air missile systems and radars are crowded and they are not the only challenge,” a defense official said. “We need to be able to attack targets that are significant and the attack needs to be able to cause extensive damage. There are multiple targets in Iran at different ranges.”

As already reported, on Jul. 9, 2019 then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tehran that IAF F-35I fighter jets can reach “anywhere in the Middle East.”

At the time Iran threatened Israel with destruction and Netanyahu said, standing in front of an F-35 Adir jet during a visit to the Nevatim Air Base: “It should remember that these planes can reach every place in the Middle East, including Iran, and of course also Syria.”

Back then the F-35I couldn’t reach Iran unassisted: it required mid-air refueling since the IAF had not yet updated its Adir strike fighters to reach Iran without the assistance of tanker aircraft.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

Photo credit: Israel Defense Forces

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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