Three news F-35 Fighter Jets landed in Israel on Sunday. The first two planes were delivered in December 2016, making Israel the first country to receive the advanced stealth planes outside the US.
In a welcoming ceremony held for the first two planes, President Reuven Rivlin said that “the aircraft will change the rules of the game. Our enemies already know that it’s not worthwhile to harm Israel.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke in glowing terms about the F-35 jets in December, saying that Israel’s goal “is to obtain supremacy in every theater: in the air, in the sea, on the ground and in the cyber world. Israel is taking off to new heights, and when our pilots in the Adir jets will fly high, we will watch them with pride.”
While the Israeli Air Force’s Adir squadron is not yet operational, at least 3 of the 5 F-35 (Adir) stealth fighters jets will make their debut performance in the traditional Independence Day flyover on May 1.
Built in the US by Lockheed Martin, the Israeli F-35s have components built by Israeli companies - including Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which produced the outer wings, Elbit Systems-Cyclone, which built the center fuselage composite components, and Elbit Systems Ltd, which manufactured the pilots’ helmets.
While it is a controversial plane with an expensive price tag of close to $100 million per plane, it’s been called the “ultimate stealth fighter jet” and Israel is expecting to receive a total of 50, two full squadrons by 2022.
Israel is slated to receive six to seven per year, until the first batch of 33 jets is delivered, the Jerusalem Post (JP) reported.
File Photo: Israel’s first two F-35 stealth fighter jets on their maiden flight as part of the Israeli Air Force on December 13, 2016. (IDF)