16:16 GMT +314 October 2019
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    F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

    F-35 Jets Likely to Enter Mideast Battlefield a Few Years Down the Line

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    The United States Air Force plans to deploy its cutting-edge F-35A fighter jets to fight Daesh in the Middle East in a few years, Air Combat Commander Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle.

    "The Middle East deployment isn’t imminent, it’s planned for a few years out," Defense News reported citing Gen. Carlisle.

    He added that small shipments of F-35 jets to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region may happen already this spring.

    According to the general, the F-35 could significantly boost the capabilities of the US Air Force in Syria and Iraq.

    The new F-35As allow the US-led coalition against Daesh to deploy GPS-guided bombs and laser-guided air-to-ground-weapons like the Paveway II, indicating the inclusion of more Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMS) in the fight.

    The F-35 would be the second stealth fighter jet to fight Daesh. The F-22 has been involved in deployments to the Middle East for airstrikes against the terrorists and dynamic targeting. According to Gen. Carlisle, the F-35 is expected to have a similar role.

    According to Defense News, the Russia and Syrian militaries have deployed their air-defense systems in Syria to protect important facilities.

    "If you look at portions of Syria, it's a pretty dense surface-to-air threat inside that arena. We try to deconflict. We try to make sure that they know that they need to not, certainly, illuminate our aircraft, but those systems are operating in that environment. They’re not illuminating our aircraft with any type of target tracking radars or anything like that in large numbers or to any great extent that I know of. … But their radars are active," Gen. Carlisle said.

    Earlier, the manufacturer of the plane Lockheed Martin reported that the Pentagon reached a deal on the purchase of the next 90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft at almost 8 percent discount from the jets’ price, resulting in savings of more than $700 million.

    The defense contractor emphasized that US President Donald Trump’s involvement in the F-35 program speeded up the talks and enhanced focus on reducing the jet’s price.

    The F-35 program has Navy, Air Force and Marine variants of the fifth generation aircraft. The program is the most expensive weapon system in the history of the Defense Department.

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    Tags:
    F-35, Daesh, Syria, Iraq, United States
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