Earlier this week, Russia announced it was ending its five year ban on selling S-300 defensive missiles to Iran. There’s no indication yet Iran is even going to buy any, but Israel was immediately furious, predicting doom and gloom over the possibility.
Lockheed Martin was paying attention too, and seems to have decided the S-300 hysteria could be very good for them, and their attempts to sell the pricey F-35 fighter jet, which their salesmen are assuring Israel was designed to counter things like the S-300.
The F-35 is designed to replace the A-10, a warplane from the 1970s that is much less expensive. The Pentagon has warned they’re also not as good as the A-10s, which again is about a tenth of the price.
Congress has been pushing the F-35 primarily as a manufacturing boon to some important districts, but it’s inferiority has made selling it abroad difficult. The S-300 claim, even if it is spurious, might boost those sales.
It’s particularly true with Israel, who generally doesn’t pay for its warplanes at any rate. Getting F-35s for them is more a question of getting the US Congress to buy them some, and any excuse is probably going to work in that regard.