Israel’s Air Force has received two more US-built F-35 aircraft at Nevatim airforce base, joining a fleet of five Adir jets already in the "Golden Eagle" Squadron.
"Today, the state of Israel received two more F-35I aircraft. The IAF continues to advance, improve and develop its capabilities. The arrival of two additional aircraft will allows us to become operational according to plan", said Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim, Commander of Nevatim AFB at the landing ceremony Thursday.
The aircraft delivered are standard F-35As. They will be locally modified to Israeli requirements, and will become F-35Is once these modifications are competed and accepted by the Israeli Air Force.
Golden Eagle has been working on the integration of the new stealth fighters for the past nine months. The complex integration process included an intricate series of tests, among them aerial refueling and munition drops.
"As opposed to the previous aircraft, the Adir is still in development. The previous aircraft's program versions were constantly being developed, but with the Adir the developments aren't made just to the program blocks, but to the fundamental systems as well. The F-35's development process is entirely different from any other," said Lt. Col. Yotam, Commander of the "Golden Eagle" Squadron.
The squadron plans to have nine Adir (F-35I) by the end of 2017, with an IOC inspection planned for December.