The heads of the Defense Ministry delegation to the United States and U.S. military and defense company Lockheed Martin celebrated the near completion of the first F-35 that will become part of the Israeli Air Force. The plane, which is code-named “Adir”, is scheduled to be completed and launched in June.
During the ceremony, which took place in Fort Worth, Texas, the head of the Israeli delegation signed on overseeing the completion of the body of the plane. He signed: “Onwards and upwards. May you succeed in all of your duties.”
The completion of the outside of the plane allows work on the more important internal systems, including the advanced electronics systems, as well as the incredibly powerful engines to begin.
“This is an historic day for the Defense Ministry and for Israel, wherein we receive the body of the first F-35 'Adir' plane,” said the head of the delegation Aharon Marmarosh. “The new F-35 planes - which are the fifth generation of planes, and the most advanced that the Defense Ministry has purchased - will allow for the continued advancement of the Israeli Air Force, and will greatly increase their capabilities of defending Israel against a variety of potential threats.”
“Today signifies the next step in tactical defense for Israel,” said Jeff Babione the head of the F-35 project for Lockheed Martin. “Lockheed Martin is pleased with the continuing and long standing partnership with the IDF and the Israeli Defense Ministry. The F-35s will ensure continued partnership between Lockheed Martin and the Israeli Defense ministry as well as the Israeli Air Force for decades to come.”
The F-35 is a Joint Strike Fighter jet, which is a fifth generation stealth fighter jet.
The Defense Ministry has purchased so far 33 “type A” F-35’s, which allow for regular takeoff and landing procedures. Each plane costs $110 million, bringing the total up to over 3 billion shekel. The purchase deal was originally signed in 2010.
The first two planes will land in Israel during 2016, and the Air Force is currently preparations to receive them. The remainder of the planes will be delivered to Israel by the end of the year 2021.