Israeli and US government leaders along with Lockheed Martin rolled out the first Israeli Air Force F-35A Lightning II Wednesday.
Israel's F-35, called Adir - which means "Mighty One" in Hebrew - will be a significant addition to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge in the Middle East region, with its advanced capability to defeat emerging threats, including advanced missiles and heavily-defended airspace. The F-35 combines advanced low observable stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment support, Lockheed Martin said in a statement Wednesday.
Israel's program of record is 33 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing, or CTOL, aircraft, acquired through the US government's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Israel's contribution to the F-35 program includes Israel Aerospace Industries F-35A wing production; Elbit Systems Ltd. work on the Generation III helmet-mounted display system, which all F-35 pilots fleet-wide will wear; and Elbit Systems-Cyclone F-35 center fuselage composite components production.
Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II for the US Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the US Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 11 other countries. Following the US Marine Corps' July 2015 combat-ready Initial Operational Capability (IOC) declaration, the US Air Force and US Navy intend to attain service IOC this year and in 2018, respectively.