02:42 GMT11 July 2020
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    Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the most expensive aircraft in history, "is almost like an invisible fighter," in the words of US President Donald Trump; however, a new report indicates an Israeli version of the warplane showed up on a publicly accessible flight tracker on the web.

    The jet was detected by flight tracking site Flightradar24.com flying north along the Israeli coast after taking off from Nevatim Air Force Base, the Aviationist reported Monday.

    ​"You like the F-35?… you can't see it. You literally can't see it. It's hard to fight a plane you can't see," US President Trump said in an October 2017 speech. On Monday, though, anyone with an internet connection could have seen the F-35 on a zero-cost internet site.

    ​As noted in an essay published by Scientific American via The Conversation, the ‘stealthy' F-35 is not invisible to the naked eye. The aircraft does not have an invisibility cloak like the one from the Harry Potter series, unless Trump declassified the existence of this technology with his comments from last year. Its "low-observability" feature is, however, supposed to reduce the plane's "radar cross signature."

    "Like the F-117 and F-22, the F-35's stealth capability greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, its radar cross-section, the signal that radar receivers see bouncing back off an airplane. The plane looks smaller on radar — perhaps like a bird rather than a plane — but is not invisible… In other radar frequencies, the F-35 is not so stealthy, making it vulnerable to being tracked and shot down using current — and even obsolete — weapons," the June 2017 essay in Scientific American noted.

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive weapons program in US history. On Monday, The Dallas Morning News reported that Lockheed Martin was hiring another 400 technicians, mechanics and factory-line workers to assist the company in its quest to build more F-35 aircraft.

    F-35, Lockheed Martin, Israel
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