US defense chief to visit Israel next week to welcome F-35 stealth jets

Ash Carter is on two-week long trip to reassure allies around the world.

December 6, 2016 12:26
1 minute read.
F35 Adir fighter jet

The Lockheed Martin F35 fighter jet plane, also known as the Adir, in a test flight. (photo credit: LOCKHEED MARTIN AERONAUTICS/ LIZ LUTZ)

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will be in Israel next week as part of a two-week long trip to meet with important regional partners around the globe.

Carter’s visit to Israel will coincide with the arrival of the first American-made F-35 stealth jet fighters. He is expected to deliver remarks at a ceremony at Nevatim Air Base near Beersheba and will meet with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

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“The arrival of the aircraft highlights the close defense cooperation between the US and Israel,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The F-35I, known in Israel as the Adir (Mighty), is a fifth generation stealth fighter equipped with the latest technology.

According to Liberman, the F-35 is “the most advanced in the world and the best for safeguarding Israel’s aerial superiority.” Built in the United States by Lockheed Martin, the Israeli F-35s have components built by Israeli companies and all maintenance of the jet will be carried out in Israel.

Carter will be arriving after visits to Japan, India, and Bahrain.

After Israel he will visit US troops stationed in Italy to thank them for their service in support of US and coalition operations, including “deterring Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and securing NATO’s southern flank.”

Carter’s final stop will be in the United Kingdom, where he will meet with UK Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon and will co-host a ministerial gathering of the leading nations in the US-led coalition against Islamic State.

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