Israeli Air Force F-35I “Adir” Involved In A Bird Strike Incident Gets Grounded

An Israeli Air Force F-35 has been involved in a bird strike during a training sortie. And the incident has fueled some weird speculations…

An Israeli Air Force F-35I “Adir” (Mighty) was involved in a bird strike incident during a training sortie two weeks ago, the Israeli Defense Forces said on Oct. 16. The pilot managed to land the plane safely back at Nevatim Air Force Base in the Negev Desert and no casualties were reported.

This is the first incident to an F-35 in IAF service since the first two aircraft have been taken on charge by the 140 “Golden Eagle” squadron in December last year.

The IDF confirmed those details to Israeli media outlets: “During a training sortie two hits were found on the plane, following to a collision with a bird. After an evaluation and assessment of the damage conducted together with the manufacturer – Lockheed Martin, the plane was sent to a normal maintenance and repair. It will return to full service in the next few days.”

Seven “Adir” aircraft have been delivered to the Israeli Air Force since December 2016. In August, a deal was completed for the purchase of another 17 such aircraft: therefore 50 such aircraft will be operated by the IAF equipping two squadrons. The total amount of the deal to purchase the 50 aircraft is estimated at 6B USD.

Meanwhile, the Golden Eagle Squadron continues to perform a wide array of flight tests to verify the 5th generation aircraft capabilities. The Squadron is scheduled to become operational by the end of this year.

The news of the birdstrike incident was released on the very same day the Israeli targeted a Syrian SAM battery that had attacked IDF aircraft during a routine flight over Lebanon fueling speculations that the F-35 was not grounded by a birdstrike but because it was hit by the Syrian air defenses. In fact, the Syrian Defense Ministry said in its statement that government forces responded to the violation of the airspace and “directly hit one of the jets, forcing [Israeli aircraft] to retreat.” On the other side the Israeli denied any aircraft was hit by the Syrian air defenses (S-200 battery) and this sounds quite reasonable considered that the Israeli have often shown their ability to operate freely in the Syrian airspace and there would have been no reason to disclose a fake birdstrike at all to cover a Syrian hit.

Image credit: Author




    • It crash landed back in Israel. How would the Syrians get the wreckage.

      I was an aircraft engineer in Vietnam. We had F4s crash land at base dozens of times never to for again. Pilots died crash landing as well. I’ve often wondered whether the VC were ever credited for those kills. RIP our brave pilots.

  1. And I got the 3D CATIA models and measured them. The F-35 Amax is 14% higher than F-22 despite having one engine instead of two. And F-35 length is 16% shorter. So Sears-Haack first order estimate of wave drag reveals a huge advantage for F-22.
    I don’t comment on things I don’t have knowledge of. Understand?

    • I wasn’t talking about drag or physical size. Just aesthetics which of course is subjective. But print a 3d model of it, its actually quite a slick plane, in my view more sculpted and beautiful. For some reason that doesn’t come through with 2d photos, you have to spend time with physical models.

      As far as size, its clearly much smaller than the F22. But the Raptor doesn’t have a VSTOL or carrier version. The F35 had a very different set of requirements, and of course despite having the most powerful engine ever put in a fighter, it still has 60% of the Raptor’s thrust so there will inevitably be huge performance differences. But the F35 is an amazing versatile platform.

      • That’s just it. It’s not “much smaller” than the F-22. And “sculpted” is bad for several reasons.

        I designed or helped design military jets for 40 years, including both of these two. I have looked at the rendered models they were built from (not somebody’s estimate) many times from many angles, and I have looked at physical models too. The F-22 is smooth and slim. The F-35 looks like Jabba the Hut with rolls of fat cascading across it’s bottom. And the F-35C is even fatter because of the larger wing. The numbers don’t lie. Makes the F-18s (both) look slick and clean.

Comments are closed.