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

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



About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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

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

  2. 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.

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

      Thanks for the comic relief!

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  3. 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.

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