The Israel Air Force has announced that F-35 fighter aircraft, ‘Adir’ are now operational.
Israel has so far received nine aircraft of the 50 it has ordered from US Lockheed Martin each costing at an approximate $100-110 million. The aircraft were received in three groups in recent years, Globes reported Thursday.
The first Israel Air Force F-35 squadron is called "Golden Eagle". Israel is the first country in the world outside the US to make operational use of the planes.
"The announcement of the operational fitness of the squadron is being made at a time when the air force is operating on a large scale on several fronts in a Middle East that is constantly changing and being reshaped," Israel Air Force commander Major General Amikam Norkin wrote in a special letter to air force soldiers.
"Making the Adir operational adds a significant layer to the air force's capability at the current time," he said.
41 more F-35s will land in Israel in the coming years, and Israel is still considering whether to buy a third squadron of the fighters, thereby increasing its total order to 75 planes.