By: Defense UpdatesPublished: 2 years ago

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The F 35 Lightning ii is a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters developed by Lockheed Martin of United States. The Pentagon began the F 35 program in 2001 with an aim to develop a cost effective replacement for the U.S. military’s F 15, F 16, F 18 Fighters, reconnaissance aircrafts as well as A10 close air support warplanes. The 5th generation fighter aircraft will be in service till 2050.

Apart from United States, The United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark are also part of the program. Several additional countries have ordered, or are considering ordering, the F-35.

Israel committed to purchasing up to 75 F-35s. The aircraft is designated F-35I, as these have been customized for Israel and there are unique Israeli features installed in them.
On 12 December 2016, Israel began receiving its first F-35Is .

Reports have emerged that an Israeli F 35 was shot at by Syrian Air Defense Forces using S 200 air defense system.
The Russian S-200 is a long range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed in the 1960s to defend large areas from bomber attack or other strategic aircraft. Each battalion has 6 single-rail missile launchers for the 10.8 m (35 ft) long missiles and a fire control radar.
Starting in January 1983, Syria received supplies of S-200 missiles from the Soviet Union.

In this video Defense Updates analyzed if the Russian made Syrian S 200 was able to detect the F 35 and even damaged it by firing at it?


On October 16, Russian defense minister Shoigu arrived Israel for meetings with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The sides were reportedly set to discuss the situation in the region, including Syria, the fight against terrorism as well as military and technical cooperation.

At the same day, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that its warplanes targeted an anti-aircraft battery of the Syrian Air Defense Forces that had launched a missile at Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon.

Some experts and media outlets linked the incident with the visit of the Russian defense minister to Tel Aviv, saying that it was a demonstration of power to the Russian-Iranian-Syrian alliance.


The Syrian military confirmed the Israeli strikes and said that they caused “material damage.” According to the Syrian Defense Ministry statement, Israeli warplanes violated Syria’s airspace on the border with Lebanon in Baalbek area. The incident took place at 8:51 am local time.
It’s interesting to note that, the Syrian Defense Ministry said in its statement that government forces responded to the violation of the airspace and “directly hit one of the jets, forcing [Israeli aircraft] to retreat.”

According to the available information, the Syrian Defense Forces used a S-200 missile against the Israeli warplane. This Russian made missile is the most advanced long range anti-aircraft system opearated by the Syrian military.

This statement contradicts to the Israeli claim that “no hit” was confirmed. But few hours after the missile incident with Syria, the Israeli media reported that the Israeli Air Force’s F-35 stealth multirole fighter went unserviceable as a result of an alleged bird collision during a training flight.The incident allegedly took place “two weeks ago” but was publicly reported only on October 16. However, Israeli sources didn't show any photo of the F-35 warplane after the “bird collision”.

Let us now dig deep and analyze the two aspects , ‘detection of F 35’ and ‘hit & damage’.


The F-35 is the world’s most expensive warplane. The price of developing the F-35 is now about $406.5 billion. Israel is paying about $100 million for each plane.
The F-35 has been designed to have a low radar cross-section that is primarily due to the shape of the aircraft and the use of stealthy, radar-absorbent materials in its construction. Hence, the aircraft is expected to evade enemy radars.
But one thing both the involved parties - Israel and Syria agreed is that the aircraft was fired on, this means, at the very least the aircraft was detected and tracked.


The Israeli statement about bird collision has substance. Israel is one of the busiest bird migration routes in the world. The BBC even terms Israel a migration “superhighway.” Bird collisions can make aircrafts unserviceable for weeks.

On the same breadth, it must be noted that stealthy aircraft have been shot down by outdated air defense system earlier. On 27 March 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, F-117A was shot down.

With the currently available information, no solid conclusion can be drawn if an actual hit was made.

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