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"The expanding Palestinian and Lebanese Hizballah’s missile threats to its southern and northern air bases have persuaded Israeli’s Air Force to consider switching its procurement plans from 100 US F-35A stealth jets to the F-35B Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) version, designed to serve the US Marine Corps under fire.
Israel’s southern and northern air bases have come within range of rockets from Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas from the Gaza Strip, respectively, and possibly from the West Bank too. Air landings and takeoffs have therefore become hazardous. Israeli air bases and installations have been fortified against Palestinian rocket attack from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
“Air base survivability is no longer hypothetical,” said one retired air force general.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that IAF chiefs reckon that in any future flare-ups, the Palestinians will not be satisfied with hitting Sderot and Ashkelon but will go for its main air bases as well. "
"DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the government continues to lag behind Israel’s perceived security needs. The new Lockheed Martin planes will not be available in time for the confrontations widely predicted to erupt over the next two or three years. The rockets already in Hizballah and Hamas hands - not to mention Iran and Syria - may be able to prevent some Israeli warplanes from taking off from vulnerable runways."