The Israeli Air Force received three new F-35 Lightning II (“Adir”) aircraft on Thursday. The Lockheed Martin aircraft arrived from the US and landed in the Nevatim Air Force base.
Normally, the Lightning II armament is installed inside the aircraft, in order to preserve its stealth characteristics. However, this time, the Israeli Air Force carried out a test flight with heavy external armament, the JDAM 84 bomb, under the aircraft’s wings. This demonstrated the capabilities of engineering cooperation between the IAF and Lockheed Martin.
The three new aircraft will join the 140 “Golden Eagle” Squadron at the Nevatim Air Base, and bring the total number of Israeli Lightning II fighter jets to 39. The first jets were declared operational in 2017. The Air Force aims to have 75 F-35 aircraft, divided into three squadrons.
Currently, there are 945 F-35 aircraft operating worldwide, which have so far accumulated a total of 691,000 flight hours, and are deployed in 39 bases and carriers across nine countries.