Two additional F-35I “Adir” stealth fighters destined for Israeli Air Force (IAF) service have arrived at Nevatim AFB in Israel, the service announced.
The new aircraft were escorted by a pair of “Adir” jets that have already been integrated in Israel.
The two aircraft will join the seven fighters that landed in Israel over the past year and are the latest addition to the 140th Squadron (“Golden Eagle”). With nine “Adir” aircraft in Israel, the platform will soon undergo an initial fitness inspection.
The first two “Adir” (F-35I) stealth fighters landed in Israel about a year ago, and seven additional aircraft have arrived since on three separate occasions.
Throughout the past year, the stealth fighter underwent a series of tests and experiments in which the IAF learned to operate the new platform such as live munition fire and aerial refueling.
Next month, the squadron will undergo a fitness inspection in which the IAF’s stealth fighters’ capabilities and readiness will be validated. Upon the completion of the inspection, the “Adir” will become operational.
Israeli Defense Ministry has recently concluded a deal with Lockheed Martin to purchase 17 additional F-35 “Adir” stealth fighter jets for the Israeli Air Force, bringing Israel’s total procurement to 50 F-35s.
About Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II:
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather, fifth-generation stealth multirole fighters designed and developed by Lockheed Martin to perform ground attack and air defense missions.
It has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant.
The three distinct variants will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for 11 other countries.
On 31 July 2015, the United States Marines declared ready for deployment the first squadron of F-35B fighters after intensive testing. On 2 August 2016, the U.S. Air Force declared its first squadron of F-35A fighters combat-ready. The Initial Operational Capability (IOC) declaration of Navy fighters are expected in 2019.
Israeli Air Force (IAF)