Israel is looking to upgrade its fleet of F-35s into high-tech electronic warfare machines, a move that would bring the stealth F-35 jets to the next level. With Lockheed Martin developed F-35s upgraded to next level, Israel will be able to dominate the skies over the Middle East with relative ease.
According to reports in National Interest Magazine, Israeli engineers are planning to upgrade the already quite advanced Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) Electronic Warfare (EW) system of the Lockheed Martin-produced F-35 fighter jets.
Israel became the first country to select the F-35 through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process when a Letter of Agreement was signed in October 2010. On June 22, 2016, the Israeli Air Force received the first F-35A Adir for Israel at a ceremony at the Fort Worth, Texas, F-35 factory
While specifics regarding EW technologies, particularly with the U.S. F-35, are often unavailable due to security reasons, aspects in which EW could substantially contribute to the aircraft’s combat power include emitting electronic signals and perform critical defensive functions.
An advanced EW system on the F-35 can likely contribute to the aircraft’s Mission Data Files threat data library,i.e, it could detect the electronic signature of approaching enemy aircraft or even ground-based air defences and alert the aircraft’s sensor targeting and surveillance systems.
The F-35’s Mission Data Files includes profiles of known enemy threats, such as a specific sensor or electronic data related to particular enemy threats likely to emerge in certain geographical areas.
The F-35s sensors, including cameras, infrared targeting systems or on-board Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, can detect the existence and trajectory of enemy targets and bounce the information off of the Mission Data Files to inform pilots regarding the specifics of the threat.
EW can function as a fundamental part of this equation, thus shedding further light upon why Israel is likely to seek EW upgrades for its fleet of F-35. Advanced EW could potentially help detect and “jam” or disable Iranian air defences mostly built on Russian platforms.
Additionally, the range and fidelity of on-board sensors can give the F-35 new dimensions of targeting and surveillance technology. The aircraft’s Distributed Aperture System (DAS), which includes a 360-degree display of surrounding cameras, can find threats at great distances.
The DAS system is networked with the F-35s Electro-Optical Targeting system. That Electro-Optical Targeting system is a high-fidelity, long-range sensor intended to find enemy targets before the F-35 itself can be seen by any enemies. Merging this sensor system with advanced EW is a likely focus of Israel’s F-35s upgrades.
According to aviation experts at EurAsian Times, with upgraded F-35s, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) would not only dominate the skies of Middle-East with relative ease but the Israeli version of the F-35s could even surpass American F-3s when it comes to Electronic Warfare (EW) system.