Israel took possession of three F-35 "Adir" stealth fighter planes on Sunday afternoon, joining the two other planes which landed in Israel in December.
Landing at Nevatime Air Base in southern Israel, the White Star of David sticker, the emblem of the IAF, was placed on the jets which are touted by senior officials was the plane which will provide complete air superiority in the region for the next 40 years.
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, 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.
Israel is the first country to receive the F-35 outside the US and once the jets land in Israel, they will not leave the country, excluding combat missions.
Once the jets arrive in Israel, they will not leave except for combat missions.
In a welcoming ceremony held for the first two planes delivered in December, President Reuven Rivlin said that the “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 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.”