Air Force bolsters stealth power as more F-35I fighter jets land in Israel

Israel now has 14 of the world's most advanced stealth fighter jet.

November 26, 2018 11:36
2 minute read.
An F-35i Adir jet in Nevatim base, southeast of Beersheba

An F-35i Adir jet in Nevatim base, southeast of Beersheba. (photo credit: IDF)


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The Israel Air Force received another two F-35i “Adir” stealth fighter jets on Sunday, bringing the total number of advanced jets in the Golden Eagle Squadron to 14.

The pair of fifth-generation jets landed at the IAF’s Nevatim Airbase, southeast of Beersheba.

Israel received its first two Adir fighter jets from the United States in December 2016.T he aircraft were declared operational approximately a year later making the IAF the only air force in the Middle East to have the stealth fighter jets battle-ready. 

In mid-November, the US Air Force held its F-35 UGWG (Users Group Working Group) in Israel, a conference for countries flying the advanced jet that was founded by the commander of the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa.

Delegates from Israel and various European countries including Britain, the Netherlands and others participated in the second annual conference.

“The purpose of the conference was to create a community of users and a common language between the countries that are receiving the F-35,” the IDF said in a statement. “During the conference a shared dialogue developed regarding operating procedures. The IAF participated in the conference as a part of the cooperation with the USAFE and in order to enrich its knowledge in the deployment of its air power.”

In May, IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin announced that the IAF had used the F-35i Adir in combat operations for the first time, making the IAF the world’s first air force in the world to have used the jet in such a capacity.

According to Norkin, who made the announcement while showing a picture of the jet over the Lebanese capital of Beirut, the jets flew on two missions on different fronts in the Middle East.

The Lockheed Martin-built F35s are being purchased as part of the military aid agreement between the US and Israel.

The IAF is reportedly leaning toward purchasing an additional 15 F-35 stealth fighters to make a third stealth squadron, bringing the total number of jets to 75 instead of 50.

The IAF is expected to soon place orders on several new aircraft to upgrade its aging squadrons in order to stay ahead of regional changes and increased threats in the region.

The deal, which according to some reports is worth a combined $11 billion, would include a fleet of F-15 IA (an acronym for Israel Advanced) fighter jets, Chinook transport helicopters, V-22 tiltrotor aircraft and KC-46 aerial refueling tankers.

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