IAF announces 5 of its 9 acquired F-35 jets have completed tests and inspection and are fully operational; Commander of F-35 Golden Eagle Squadron: Will the ‘Adir’ participate in the next military campaign? I have no doubt. An aircraft like this brings capabilities to the IAF that it didn’t have before- it is an important strategic asset, Dec. 6, 2017.
The Israel Air Force announced its F-35 “Adir” fighter jets as fully operational on Wednesday morning. Five of Israel’s recently acquired F-35’s have completed tests and drills and are “fully operational” according to the Israel Air Force (Israel Air Force).
IAF Chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin confirmed the jets as operational and addressed the challenges facing Israel’s security in the region. He stated, “The declaration of the squadron’s operational capability is occurring at a time in which the IAF is operating on a large scale in a number of fronts, in the constantly changing Middle East. The operational challenge, which is becoming more and more complex each day, receives an excellent aerial response. The Adir aircraft’s operational status adds a significant layer to the IAF’s capabilities at this time.”
Commander of the of the jet’s “Golden Eagle Squadron”, Lt. Col. Yotam, spoke about the F-35’s integration to the IAF and the future of the world’s most advanced fighter jet, stating “The inspection examined missions and scenarios that include all of the operational elements required to fly the ‘Adir’, from the ground to the air. I am confident in the division’s capability to reach operational preparedness and feel that the pressure is positive and healthy.”
He addressed the challenges of the new squadron, as well as the F-35’s as a “strategic asset” in Israel’s operations in the region, stating, “The integration of the ‘Adir’ is one of the largest challenges that the IAF has dealt with, mainly because of the pioneering nature of the project. 80% of the things we do and learn here are things we taught ourselves… We haven’t stopped learning thinking and developing upon being declared operational… Will the ‘Adir’ participate in the next military campaign? I have no doubt. An aircraft like this brings capabilities to the IAF that it didn’t have before; it is an important strategic asset.”
The F-35, called “Adir” in Israel, meaning “mighty/awesome/glorious”, was revealed to the public mid-2016 at the Lockheed Martin Aerospace Company in Texas. The Lockheed Martin produced-jets cost around $110 million each. The latest 17 purchases were negotiated “below $100 million. This is a significant reduction compared to the planes Israel has brought thus far,” according to Israel’s Defense Ministry.
The F-35 is capable of carrying over 16 tons of bombs and missiles and is most unique for having the most advanced stealth technology of any aircraft. The F-35 is also Israel’s solution to the S-300, as it is capable of evading the air defense system.
Israel is the first country aside from the United States to acquire the world’s most advanced fighter jets. Israel received five F-35’s total. Israel is set to receive a total of 50 F-35’s, Israel’s security cabinet having approved the $1.5 billion purchases as part of the United States and Israel’s Memorandum of Understanding. Israel’s security cabinet approved the purchase of 14 jets in 2014, the number rising to 50 with reports that Israel intends to purchase a total of 75 jets.
Israel has also heavily contributed to the F-35’s development. While Lockheed Martin have created and produced the fighter jets, Israel’s Elbit System and Israel Aerospace Industries have created parts for the fighter jets. The helmets for the jets were also jointly created by Elbit and Rockwell Collins.
Photo: F-35 jets in Israel, CC, 2016