Lockheed Martin has officially unveiled Israel’s first F-35

Jun 22 2016 - 23 Comments

Here’s the F-35A “Adir” (“Mighty One”): the first Lightning II for the Israeli Air Force.

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.

F-35 IAF 2

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  • Jon Gerhart

    Israeli stealth, coming to a uranium enrichment facility near you! If you live in Iran that is.

    • Bez

      Haven’t you had enough belligerence? Israel has been talking of that for years and nothing has come of it.

  • leroy

    What nation is under more threat than Israel? The fact that they chose the F-35 as their future front-line fighter should say something to this plane’s critics. But they are so locked into their own faulty peremptory narrative about this cutting-edge fighter that they can’t see reality no matter how many air forces tell us F-35 is the best fighter jet on the market. World-class unchallenged 5th gen superiority. As major an advance as the monoplane was over the biplane when considering its internal weapons carriage and stealth. A sea-change because no new (successful) fighter design will ever only carry weapon stores externally. I suppose these neanderthals were with us during past technological breakthroughs. Developments that challenged conventional thinking. To those critics I say – open your eyes! You are the same fools who swore undying allegiance to the horse or the battleship.

    • sglover

      Yeah, now our Israeli “friends” can finally cope with the menace of teenage rock-throwers.

      Thanks for the comic relief!

      • leroy

        I doubt that its “rock throwers” that they are worried about, rather people who would, if they could, exterminate them. You sound like you’d like to see Israel disappear. Ain’t gonna happen.

    • Ronin0948

      Actually it isn’t an endorsement at all. Much like the Japanese and the Australians, they had to grumble and make do with the plane given the Raptor’s export ban. In addition, they’ve also been trying to re-negotiate the option for more planes beyond the currently contracted 33 into Silent Eagles. Much like the US Navy too, they also don’t have anywhere near the religious devotion to stealth that the USAF does. Giving the Russian and Chinese a decade at best before their radar tech has caught the plane. Still given their history and situation, they’ll probably turn out the definitive version of the plane.

      • leroy

        They had the chance to add even more F-15s but passed. Orders are for 33 now, but the IAF will eventually buy at least 50, and likely 75. This according to the head of the IAF.

    • franciwzm

      F35 with meteor integrated looks terrific : since its very low frontal rcs, and meteor 120km+ no escape zone, will be able to ambush large rcs and draggy fighters such as sukhoys..More intimidating then f22+amraam in my opinion.

      • leroy

        Agreed. Plus F-35 has the Gen III helmet. Look and shoot and let HOBS missile handle the rest. The opposing fighter(s) will never know what hit them until the missile warhead detonates.

  • TheEvilBlight

    The IAF will be able to objectively say how good the plane is. They are not beholden to Lockmart the same way the USAF is; since they cannot afford to import junk. It’s hilarious that IAF will be beta testing the aircraft for us and it’s quite likely Israeli F-35’s will draw first blood well before American ones do.

    • McPosterdoor

      Why is that hilarious? Israel is involved in a lot of conflict.

      • Bez

        Indeed. Conflicts are not “hilarious”. They are deadly serious.

  • sferrin

    I was hoping for desert camo. :-(

    • leroy

      It would have been a great PR move. A missed opportunity.

  • VID

    Where are IAF camo colours…

  • Jan Schmidt

    Israel will modify the F-35 to suit their operations in the middle east. stealth will not be the main issue but sensor fusion and platform networking. 14 are ordered for 110 million dollar per aircraft, 1,54 billion dollar total. 17 optional. the purchase is funded by us-american aid money.
    Original plan was to buy 100 F-35A to replace older F-16I. But price hike and program delays forced Israel to reconsider other fighters (like F-15SE) over F-35.
    Based in Negev desert, at Nevatim airbase, the F-35I “Adir” will be part of infrastructure projects in the region … most israeli avionics will come from Elbit Systems, also AA- and AG-weapons, that will fit into the weapon bays.
    there are some hints of a F-35 two-seater being developed with israeli help (IAI) … and should the F-35 fail to deliver there are other options still on the table.

  • Michael Burns

    The F-35s flew in full stealth mode and were carrying full loads of eight GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb two-hundred-pound bombs, and two air-to-air missiles, all completely concealed in their internal weapons carriage.

    The four F-35s went supersonic as they were vectored toward the battle, flying in a right wing formation, Tobias in the lead aircraft. The stealth fighters had a radar signature, or radar
    cross section, no larger than a golf ball.

    Almost as soon as they reached an altitude of 5,000 meters, the pilots began receiving battlefield information inside their computerized helmet displays. Each aircraft had a supercomputer on board, capable of more than a trillion calculations per second, and the four F-35s exchanged all data instantaneously with each others’ airplanes.

    “Radar emissions,” Tobias told his group. “Begin jamming sequence.”

    The Greyhounds’ radar knew the planes were coming toward them, but could barely see them. As soon as the twelve Greyhounds turned on their radar, the air defense systems were identified by the sensors aboard the F-35s.

    They were over Jericho in a matter of minutes, ordered to fly over the battle zone and to send data back to the command center at Tel Nof Air Base. Within seconds, the planes’ sensors
    identified every single enemy vehicle on the battlefield. Tobias had the tactical choice to target the enemy’s lead tanks or take out the Greyhounds and make it easier for successive flights. He chose to take out the tanks, which were perilously close to the outskirts of Jericho.

    “Target the tanks,” Tobias said. “Arm bombs.”

    From Sanctum Sanctorum

  • alexander the new yorker

    such sales of US military equipment to the state of israel, Palestine are illegal under both US and international law,

  • alexander the new yorker

    How dare I criticize US arms sales to the state of Israel, Palestine on these fair pages ! Shame on me for stating the FACT that such sales are ILLEGAL under both US and international law !

    • leroy

      What law? Reference it so we readers know what law is being violated.

  • I am very interested to see reports of its real world combat performance both in multirole and combat air patrol missions

    • leroy

      Well since it hasn’t been flown in combat yet the best we can do are judge it by how it performs in exercises like Red Flag and what they did recently at Mt. Home AFB:

      10 Questions on the F-35A Lightning II

      “0 – losses in dog fights against F-15E Red Air”

      http://www.tyndall.af.mil/News/tabid/6600/Article/808248/10-questions-on-the-f-35a-lightning-ii.aspx

      The above quote was from the second of the two linked photos. That’s zero losses against F-15E. How much you wanna bet a biased media doesn’t pick that up like they did the non-dog fight “fight” against that F-16D when all they were doing was fine tuning the control input limits! The inaccurate media pundits and clueless bloggers (not to mention dummy public commenters) really kinda make me sick. They are so dopey when it comes to this fighter that they honestly make me want to puke!

      • ronsnyder

        Note that they did not put the F-35 up against the F-16 or F-18, let alone the F-22. All of them can beat the pants off of the POS F-35. You forget to mention that the F-16 was fully loaded on the external hardpoints, AND had two conformal fuel tanks. F-35 was designed as a light strike bomber, not an A-A fighter.