The same aircraft, different variants, and vastly varying performances. That is how one could best describe the F-35A and the F-35B — US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin’s highly advanced 5th generation stealth fighter jets.
Despite the same basic design, additions (and subtractions) for different roles and operating environments massively affect the aerodynamic performance of the two jets.
To give you a lowdown on the F-35, its variants, and capabilities, we envision (for purely illustrative purposes), a duel between – an Israeli F-35A and a British Royal Navy F-35B. Interestingly, Israel and the UK are two of the US’ closest allies.
Israeli F-35I ‘Adir’
Israel’s F-35I (or ‘Adir’ in Hebrew) is a significantly modified version of the F-35A, with customizations conforming to Israeli tactical and operational needs. It was the first country outside the nine-nation alliance to acquire the stealth jet and also the first to use it in active missions in May 2018.
Then, it had struck targets friendly to Basher al-Assad and Iran in Syria. A primary addition has been external fuel tanks to extend the jet’s limited range and enable it to go as far as Iran that is more than 1500 miles.