Two new F-35I aircraft have landed in Nevatim, Israel.
The two jets will join the ranks of the IAF’s Adir Division, which was declared operational in December 2017.
Regarding the difference between the F-35I and F-35A, 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.
Lockheed Martin say that the continuous integration of the ‘Adir’ aircraft is another aspect of the long-running military cooperation between Israel and the US.
Israel is currently building the infrastructure needed to accommodate F-35s, including hardened aircraft shelters, underground pens, and maintenance facilities. In addition, the IAF has ordered 30 M-346 trainer jets to train F-35 pilots. Construction of a manufacturing facility to produce wings under license for the F-35 was completed mid-2014. The site is to produce a total of 811 wing pairs. Initial orders for the F-35 were for 20 jets, with a total of 75 intended