The Israeli Air Force (IAF) took delivery of their first two F-35I ‘Adir’ stealth fighter aircraft on December 12th arriving in country at Nevatim AFB. Many dignitaries including US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, the President of Lockheed Martin Marillyn Hewson and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu were in attendance.

“Today, the fifth generation revolution begins. The ‘Adir’ is about to become a powerful accelerator for the entire IAF”, said Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander. “We plan on leveraging our systemic abilities to new heights in attack and defense. Our aerial force will be much deadlier, combined and more relevant than ever”.

U.S Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, added: “As of today, Israel is our only friend in the region flying the F-35. F-35s will help the U.S. and Israel Air Force operate more jointly and more effectively. Together, we will dominate the skies”.

“The ‘Adir’ (F-35I) stealth fighters and pilots will be able to operate in every arena, near and far” said the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. “Our goal is to obtain supremacy in every theatre: in the air, in the sea, on the ground and in the cyber arena. We build our force and sharpen our abilities in defense, attack, deterrence and decision. The ‘Adir’ jets will strengthen these abilities”. – IAF

The two F-35I’s are the first of 50 aircraft that Israel has agreed to acquire under an agreement that was signed six years ago. The IAF now will begin a process of training and testing to fully determine how to best utilize and integrate the aircraft into their defense program. The F-35I is Israel’s first Fifth Generation fighter aircraft. No decision has been made yet on when the F-35I program will become operational.

Ground based simulators are part of the F-35I agreement and the IAF hopes to conduct up to 50% of flight training hours in the simulator.

Photo by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, via Wikimedia Commons

The term  ‘Adir’ in Hebrew can mean mighty, powerful, noble and great.

The Israeli Nevatim AFB is located in the southern desert region of Israel near Be’er Sheva. The air base was originally started in 1947 and became a major base in 1983 with the construction of two major runways from joint Israeli and US funding. The air base currently hosts F-16 squadrons.

Recently President-elect Trump tweeted his displeasure about the high cost of the F-35 program.

Featured Image Courtesy of Lockheed Martin