Israel's potential acquisition of the short take-off and vertical landing B-model of Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike Fighter, to complement its ordered fleet of F-35As, has gained further momentum following a recent strategic assessment.

A recent strategic assessment by the Israeli air force says that the number of short- and long-range rockets in use by militants in Lebanon and Gaza could affect the service's ability to use its bases during a conflict.

Although the air force has formed special units equipped to perform quick fixes to damaged runways, the problem remains significant. “The operational need for the F-35B is clear,” an Israeli source told FlightGlobal.

The first two IAF F-35As are scheduled to land in Israel on 12 December and another six will be delivered in 2017.

The force has a further 25 on order, to be delivered over several years.