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Iran worried over Israel's F-35 plans

July 13, 2009 at 6:32 PM

TEHRAN, July 13 (UPI) -- Israel plans to purchase at least 50 U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets, giving it the ability to penetrate air-defense systems intended for Iran and Syria.

Israeli officials in June called on Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to delay the delivery of the S-300PMU missile system to Iran. Moscow, for its part, said it has not delivered any of the S-300 units it agreed to sell Iran in 2008 under an $800 million contract.

The S-300 system is considered one of the most effective all-altitude air-defense systems in the world. It could make Iranian airspace impervious to modest attacks.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti says the S-300 air defense system is vulnerable to the F-35, Lockheed Martin's fifth generation of stealth fighters.

Israel, the report says, had sent a request to the U.S. Defense Department to purchase at least F-35s with the goal of penetrating the S-300 system in Iran, the Iranian state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports.

The Israeli F-35s would replace older F-15 and F-16 fighters. The S-300 is comparable to the U.S. Patriot missile, boasting an intercept range of 16 miles.

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