With a ceremony broadcast live on Youtube, the first Israeli F-35 was rolled out on Jun. 22 at Lockheed Martin production plant at Ft. Worth, Texas.
The 5th Generation aircraft, designated AS-1, is expected to be delivered to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) later this year.
According to the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who spoke during the arrival of the F-35 stealth fighter, “the most advanced in the world and the best for safeguarding Israel’s aerial superiority,” will enhance the Israeli deterrence against its enemies for many years to come.
Israel has contracted for 33 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program with an option for 17 more Joint Strike Fighters.
The aircraft will have components contributed by Israeli companies, including Israel Aerospace Industries that will produce the F-35’s outer wings, Elbit Systems-Cyclone, that will provide center fuselage composite components as well as Elbit Systems Ltd. that will provide Gen. III helmet-mounted display systems to be worn by all Lightning II pilots.
It’s still not clear how many “domestic” modifications, including EW (Electronic Warfare) pods, weaponry, C4 systems etc. the aircraft, sometimes dubbed F-35I (for Israel) will embed. Read more