The Israeli Air Force have established a new squadron for its F-35 aircraft, designated “Adir” in Israel.
The squadron is being established at an IAF airbase in the southern region of Israel, and its first commander will be Lt. Col. Yotam.
In 2003, Israel signed a formal letter of agreement worth almost $20 million to join the System Development and Demonstration effort for the F-35 as a “security cooperation participant”. Israel will buy 20 initial examples of the F-35A, with a total of 75 fighters expected.
A senior Israeli air force official stated, “the aircraft will be designated F-35I, as there will be unique Israeli features installed in them”. The United States initially refused to allow the integration of Israel’s own electronic warfare systems into the aircraft’s built-in electronic suite. However, Israel planned the introduction of a plug-and-play feature added to the main computer to allow for the use of Israeli electronics in an add-on fashion, and to fit its own external jamming pod.
In 2012 Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to make changes to the first Israeli F-35s to allow the installation of Israeli electronic warfare equipment produced by Elbit Systems.
The establishment of an F-35 squadron is an important phase in the process of inducting the new aircraft intot he Israeli Air Force.
The first aircraft intended for IAF are already being built on the production line of Lockheed Martin.