Some media are unaware of what electronic intelligence (ELINT) consists of

What is true in the news about American F-35 fighters flying over Ukraine?

In the last few hours, some news has appeared stating that F-35 fighter jets would be flying over the territory of Ukraine.

New strategic hit on Russia: the shootdown of a second AWACS A-50 Mainstay aircraft
The enormous strategic importance for Russia of the loss of a Beriev A-50 Mainstay aircraft

That statement was published today by the Russian newspaper Pravda EN and by the Spanish newspaper La Razón. The latter has published the following headline in his news: " American F-35s fly over Ukraine to locate Russian anti-aircraft missile systems". This media points as a source to the Minister of Defense of Singapore, Ng Eng Hen, who would have stated this during a session of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Procurement.

A US Navy F-35C Lightning II (Photo: U.S. Navy).

As @TuiteroMartin has pointed out, the transcript of that statement Ng Eng Hen can be read here. The information from Pravda EN and La Razón would be based on this statement by the Singapore Defense Minister:

"The US used their F-35s to locate and identify surface-to-air missile sites of Russian units in Ukraine, and this information was shared with NATO countries."

La Razón states: "These statements confirm the participation of the United States Air Force F-35s in reconnaissance missions over Ukraine". It isn't true. This statement does not confirm or even affirm that F-35 fighters have flown over Ukraine. This deduction is based on a lack of knowledge of the editor of the La Razón news about the F-35 systems. A lack of knowledge that seems to be shared by the editor of the Pravda EN news.

A US Air Force F-35A Lightning II (Photo: U.S. Air Force).

The reality is that an F-35 does not need to fly over Ukraine to detect Russian targets. As for aerial targets, the Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems AN/APG-81 AESA radar The F-35 has a range of 370 km. This means that an F-35 flying over Poland could detect Russian aircraft flying over most of the border area between Belarus (where Russian invading forces also operate from) and Ukraine.

Additionally, the F-35's AN/ASQ-239 Barracuda ELINT (electronic intelligence) system It has a range of 926 km. This system is used to locate both ground and air threats. That is, an F-35 flying over Poland could locate Russian targets near Kharkov, a city 415 km east of Kiev. In the same way, with that same ELINT system, an F-35 flying over Romania could cover the entire Crimean peninsula, occupied by Russia, and its detections could reach beyond Mariupol.

Two pieces of advice for journalists reporting on defense issues: never trust Russian sources (they lie by system) and look for some reliable information before publishing headlines as ridiculous as those of Pravda EN and La Razón .


Main photo: Royal Air Force. A US Air Force F-35A.

Don't miss the news and content that interest you. Receive the free daily newsletter in your email:

Opina sobre esta entrada:

Debes iniciar sesión para comentar. Pulsa aquí para iniciar sesión. Si aún no te has registrado, pulsa aquí para registrarte.