By 6/22/16 3:51 PM
Lockheed Martin unveiled the first Israeli F-35 Wednesday in a ceremony featuring flashing lights, stirring music and an Israeli singer-songwriter.
The name of Israeli F-35 is “Adir,” which loosely translates to “might” in Hebrew. Israel was the first country to procure the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program in 2010. The F-35 is “the latest symbol of a special relationship between Israel and the United States,” according to Lockheed Martin President and CEO Marillyn Hewson.
Israel will decommission its F-15s and F-16s as F-35s are delivered.
The F-35 Adir uses the latest sensors to securely talk with other planes, ground troops and ships, allowing for everyone to keep tabs on each other. In addition, the fighter jet can carry weapons loads of up to 18,000 pounds with a range of 1,300 miles. These new features allow the F-35 to be six times more effective in air-to-air conflicts, eight times more effective in air-to-ground operations, and six times more effective at surveillance, according to Lockheed Martin.
Israel joins Japan and South Korea as Foreign Military Sales countries in addition to the nine original partner countries to build the F-35 joint strike fighter through 2040. Six Israeli defense contractors provide $778 million worth of F-35 parts and services to the joint effort.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Israel’s first F-35 during the ceremony at Fort Worth. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)