IAF discussing sending pilots to US for F-35 training

In talks with Pentagon, Israel Air Force hoping to obtain approval to begin training in 2016; 20 jets to be delivered beginning 2017.

May 27, 2011 06:07
2 minute read.
The new F-35 stealth fighter

new f-35 jet. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


In an effort to obtain initial operational capability of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as soon as possible, the Israel Air Force is in talks with the Pentagon regarding the possibility that Israeli pilots will begin training on the plane in the United States.

Last year, Israel signed a $2.75 billion deal to purchase 20 fifth-generation stealth JSFs. Under the original deal, Israel was to begin receiving the planes in 2015 but due to development delays, delivery will likely now begin in 2017.

With F-35 delay, IAF looking at purchase of used F-15s
Stealth power
US refuses to confirm offer of 20 F-35 fighter jets

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

As a result, the IAF is hoping to obtain Pentagon approval for IAF pilots to begin training in the US as early as 2016, around the time that American pilots will begin training on the advanced fighter jet.

The F-35’s uniqueness stems not only from its stealth capabilities but also due to its integrated sensor suite which provides pilots with unprecedented situational awareness and enables the sharing of information between the various aircraft.

If approved, IAF pilots will train for around a year in the US and then return to Israel with the aircraft delivery, which is expected to commence in 2017 and be completed by 2018. Israel has received Pentagon approval to purchase an additional 55 aircraft.

On Wednesday, IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan said that while there were delays in the development of the F-35, Israel required the jet, which would provide it with new and unprecedented capabilities.

“The plane will provide the air force with new capabilities like in the past when the F-15 and F-16 arrived and pulled the IAF after them in terms of doctrine and operations,” Nehushtan said at a conference at the Fischer Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya.

Nehushtan’s remarks came after the Senate Armed Services Committee questioned top Pentagon officials last week on the aircraft’s rising development costs, expected to now reach $1 trillion.


Arizona Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the committee, referred to the program as “incredibly troubled” and a “train wreck.”

He said Lockheed has done an “abysmal job” at containing cost overruns and urged that the company absorb at least some of them. He also suggested that the Defense Department mull possible alternatives to the F-35 if the rising costs cannot be contained.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

idf hebron
August 22, 2014
Palestinians throw Molotov cocktail at IDF checkpoint in Hebron