First Delivery of Long-Awaited State-of-the-Art F-35A Stealth Jets on the Way to Israel
The first two of 50 state-of-the-art stealth planes produced jointly by US and Israeli aerospace industries are making their way to the Jewish state, after a stop in Portugal, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Wednesday.
The aircraft — named the F-35A Lightning II, or “Adir,” which means “mighty” — is scheduled to arrive next week at the Nevatim Air force Base, where a ceremony will be held to welcome it warmly into the Israel Air Force (IAF).
According to the report, the project to procure the ultra-modern aircraft began more than a decade ago, with the understanding that it was the “plane of the future,” the only fifth-generation model produced today. As part of the preparation for the integration of the planes, Israel began building special simulation rooms and other facilities geared to train pilots and ground crews how to operate them.
The IAF considers this process revolutionary, nrg said, calling it the force’s greatest leap forward in 40 years.
The “Adir” is not only able to hit targets and gather intelligence in enemy territory, but can conduct entire battles from the air. It is equipped with sensors capable of receiving large amounts of data from any area over which it flies. Its information systems enable the transmitting and receiving of real-time and encrypted data, and its stealth capabilities significantly enhance its survival.
In June, according to Lockheed Martin, members of the Israeli and US governments joined the American global aerospace giant “to celebrate the rollout of the first Adir, marking a major production milestone for the future of Israel’s national defense.”
“Israel is proud to be the first country in the area to receive and operate it,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the event. “The F-35 is the best aircraft in the world and the choice of all our military leadership at its highest level. It is clear and obvious to us and to the entire region that the new F-35, the Adir, will create real deterrence and enhance our capabilities for a long time.”
IAF Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman added, “As a pilot who has flown more than 30 years in a great variety of aircraft, I had the privilege of flying the F-35 simulator in Fort Worth and it was like holding the future in my hands. The unique combination of split-edge technology, lethality and the amazing man-machine interface will lead the world to the fifth generation.”
According to Lockheed Martin, the Adir “will be a significant addition to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East region, with its advanced capability to defeat emerging threats, including advanced missiles and heavily-defended airspace.”
According to nrg, the rest of the advanced fighter jets are expected to be integrated into the IAF by 2021.