Meet the F-35I Adir – When Hamas launched its surprise attack on Oct. 7, the Israeli government pledged to eliminate the terror group fully from its southern border.
Terrorists swarmed the Jewish state on that deadly day, murdering more than 1,400 people. Due to the barbarity of the assault, the Israel Defense Forces are tasked with eliminating the terror group from the Gaza Strip. For 25 days Israel’s air force has carried out numerous airstrikes seeking to obliterate Hamas’ infrastructure and other assets.
These aerial bombardments, combined with the IDF’s limited ground incursions and naval operations, will hopefully bring about Hamas’ destruction.
What Makes This War Notable
Since its founding in 1948, Israel has had to defend itself against hostile neighbors. The world’s sole Jewish state, born out of the Holocaust, has had to work tirelessly to survive. From the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War to more recent intifadas, the elimination of the Jewish state remains the top priority for several non-state actors positioned around the country.
While these past wars of course impacted the small country and its morale, Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault was different. The last time so many Jews were slaughtered occurred during a brutal, Holocaust-era pogrom. The use of go-pros and social media also highlighted the disturbing details of Hamas’ atrocities, and it displayed the terror group’s willingness and capability to commit heinous crimes against humanity.
For this reason, Israel’s Operation Swords of Iron is poised to become the most prolonged and deadly combat in Gaza since 1948. In order to ensure the survival of the Jewish state, Hamas must simply be wiped out.
In order to carry out such a hefty task, the IDF will deploy a three-pronged approach to ensure no remnant of Hamas is left behind.
The IDF’s aerial strategy against the terror group has perhaps gained the most media attention in recent weeks. Since Oct. 7, the IAF has carried out frequent airstrikes over Gaza, eliminating more than 100 terrorists so far.
Introducing the F-35I Adir
The principle platforms being used in the IAF’s Gaza bombardments are the American-engineered fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-15 Eagles, and F-35 Lightning IIs.
Israel first acquired a specially modified variant of the F-35 in 2010. Lockheed Martin agreed to allow the IAF to procure a unique model of the advanced fifth-generation fighter, an exception the manufacturing powerhouse had not given to other foreign militaries at the time. The IAF’s fleet of F-35I Adir “Mighty One” jets features domestically produced air-to-air missiles and guided bombs in the internal weapons bays.
This specialized fleet also possesses an IAF-specific helmet-mounted display and unique datalink functionality, among other enhancements.
The Adir’s cutting-edge electronic warfare suite is useful against entities with lesser aerial capabilities, including Hamas and Hezbollah.
As detailed by Kris Osborn, “Cutting-edge EW systems are able to discern and ‘deconflict’ the spectrum to identify hostile or threatening frequencies and RF signatures to establish a ‘line of bearing’ and succeed in jamming or disabling enemy communications or weapons guidance systems.
Developers say the system introduces 360-degree detection, greater ranges and signal fidelity, and advanced countermeasures.”
According to footage shared by the IAF, the Adirs are indeed executing airstrikes in Gaza.
In one photograph published on Twitter by Israel’s air force, a soldier is seen working on the 2,000-pound GBU-31 JDAMS. An F-35I Adir is visible in the background of the image, indicating this platform is being equipped to carry out strikes.
Although the Adir is certainly the IAF’s most advanced fighter, the service’s variants of the F-15 and F-16 should not be discounted. This trifecta of airframes will continue to play a leading role in Israel’s quest to eliminate Hamas from Gaza.
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.
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