Watch the unveiling of the first Israeli F-35 in a ceremony held in the United States.
Israel became the first country to select the F-35 through the United States government’s Foreign Military Sales process in 2010 when Israeli Ministry of Defence Director General Udi Shani signed the Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the procurement of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant.
The programme promotes further sharing of technology and knowledge between countries, as well as opportunities in manufacturing for Israel’s sophisticated defence industry. With the Israel Air Force planning to decommission its fleet of aging F-15s and F-16s, the F-35 will continue to ensure the country’s global competitiveness.
The Israeli Air Force gave the F-35 the Hebrew name Adir which, according to the Times of Israel, denotes awesomeness in modern Hebrew.
The Jerusalem Post has reported that Israeli defence forces believe that the F-35 will be a “game changer”.
According to the report, the Israeli defence establishment said the jet, which will be officially unveiled by manufacturer Lockheed Martin in a ceremony for Israel on Wednesday, will be a “game changer”.
IAF chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said:
“We in the IAF call the F-35 the fifth generation. The whole of the IAF is going to adapt itself to this vehicle, which will take us up to another level.”
He also added that the jet will greatly aid the IAF’s goals of improving intelligence-gathering and its ability to deploy precision-guided weapons.
The unveiling ceremony in Texas will be attended by Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman and senior IAF officers.
Keith Tucker, director of the Strategic Studies Group at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics also made veiled references to the plane’s largely classified ability to execute cyber-attacks from the air.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
“The plane will enable the IAF to see its enemies before they can see it, and to strike them before they realize they are under attack.
These advantages are especially pertinent against the IDF’s principal military foe, Hezbollah, which according to international media reports has advanced radar-based surfaceto- air missile batteries, and a vast arsenal of 120,000 offensive rockets and missiles. Its stealth radar signature gives the F-35 the ability to attack these SAM batteries before they can be used, and to do so long-range.”