Israel Air Force now has 16 F-35s of 50; Jets arrived in southern Israel from Texas on Sunday; IAF: These new additions are a further expression of the ever-strong military partnership between Israel and the United States.
The Israel Air Force (IAF) received two additional F-35 stealth fighter jets from the United States’ Lockheed Martin on Sunday. The jets arrived at Israel’s southern Nevatim airbase from Texas and will join Israel’s two squadrons. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed their arrival, releasing the statement, “Today, we are proud to welcome two new F-35 fighter jets to our existing fleet, bolstering Israel’s aerial superiority and operational capabilities. These new additions are a further expression of the ever-strong military partnership between Israel and the United States.”
It added, “The capabilities of the Adir Squadron add another tier to the operational and strategic capabilities of the air force, which ensures the air force’s superiority in all its missions, namely the protection and safety of the State of Israel’s skies.”
The F-35, called “Adir” in Israel, meaning “mighty,” is capable of carrying over 16 tons of bombs and missiles and is 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. It received two in December of 2016 and now has a total of 16. Israel is set to receive a total of 50 F-35s after Israel’s security cabinet approved the $1.5 billion purchase as part of the United States and Israel’s Memorandum of Understanding.
The Israel Air Force was also the first to use the F-35 stealth jet in combat.
Last month, the United States, UK, and Israel conducted a joint air force exercise, the first of its kind. “Tri-Lightning” was organized by the United States Air Force and was the first air force drill using F-35 stealth jets from multiple countries. The exercise fell on the commemoration of the Israel Air Force (IAF), which was established 71 years ago in June. The training was conducted over the eastern Mediterranean Sea and included three different F-35 Lighting II fighter jets, the UK’s Royal Air Force F-35B, Israel’s F-351 (Adir) and the United States’ 35A.