The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have successfully used their F-35I Adir fighter jets to shoot down an incoming cruise missile, marking the first known instance of the American-made stealth fighter achieving such a feat. The incident, which occurred earlier this week, involved the detection and interception of a cruise missile believed to have been launched by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.
On November 2, 2023, the Israel Defense Forces released video footage of the interception but did not disclose the specific launch site or the weapon used in the takedown. However, Israel’s F-35I variants are equipped with advanced air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM.
In a groundbreaking aerial defense operation, the Israel Defense Forces announced the successful use of their F-35I Adir fighter jets to intercept a cruise missile, showcasing the advanced capabilities of the stealth aircraft. The missile, detected by the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) sophisticated control systems, was neutralized after the F-35Is tracked its trajectory and engaged the threat.
The IDF’s statement today, accompanied by video evidence, highlights a significant milestone in aerial combat, underscoring the F-35’s versatility and Israel’s strategic defense prowess. While the exact origin of the cruise missile remains unconfirmed by the IDF, it is widely speculated to have been launched by the Houthis from Yemen, with Iran’s backing.
Israel’s F-35I variant, known for its advanced avionics, stealth technology, and formidable firepower, is a customized version of the American F-35 Lightning II, tailored to meet the specific requirements of the IAF. The aircraft’s combat capabilities were put to the test in this latest encounter, although the IDF did not specify whether the AIM-9X Sidewinder or the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile was employed in the interception.
The F-35I’s combat service with the IDF began in 2017, and it was first used in combat operations in 2018. The recent deal to acquire an additional 25 jets will bring Israel’s total to 75, solidifying its air superiority with a fleet of fifth-generation fighters.
This event also adds to the F-35I’s combat achievements, following the IDF’s announcement in March 2021 of the first known kill by an F-35, when it downed two drones asserted to have been launched by Iran.
The F-35 Lightning II is a state-of-the-art fifth-generation multirole stealth fighter designed to perform ground attack, aerial reconnaissance, and air defense missions with unparalleled capability. Its advanced stealth allows it to penetrate dense threat environments that previous fighters could not. The F-35 features a sophisticated sensor package that gathers and distributes more information than any fighter in history, enhancing the entire network of connected combat forces.
The F-35’s integrated avionics and sensor fusion provide the pilot with unprecedented situational awareness. The aircraft is equipped with an AN/APG-81 AESA radar, which has significant capabilities in the realm of air-to-air and air-to-ground operations.
In terms of firepower, the F-35 is armed with a variety of weapons. It has an internal 25mm cannon and can carry an array of weapons in its internal bays, maintaining its stealth profile. For air-to-air combat, it can be equipped with AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles. For ground targets, it can carry JDAMs, Paveway laser-guided bombs, and other precision-guided munitions.
The F-35’s ability to carry out a wide range of operations, from surveillance to combat, combined with its advanced weaponry, makes it one of the most formidable aircraft in the skies today. The recent successful intercept of a cruise missile by the IDF’s F-35I Adir adds a significant chapter to the aircraft’s operational history.