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First F-35 Planes Ready for Combat, IAF Says

First F-35 Planes Ready for Combat, IAF Says”

After almost a year of testing and training, the IAF has announced that its fleet of F-35 jets is now combat-ready.

Air Force chief Maj.

Major General Amikam Norkin, Commander of the IAF said, "The declaration of the squadron's operational capability is occurring at a time in which the IAF is operating on a large scale in a number of fronts, in the constantly changing Middle East the operational challenge, which is becoming more and more complex each day, receives an excellent aerial response".

The F-35 has struggled with years of cost overruns and technical malfunctions; indeed, while the U.S. and NASA took about 10 years to reach the moon, 20 years after Lockheed received its first contract related to F-35 concept design the jets still suffer engine fires and sometimes provide insufficient oxygen to pilots mid-flight.

Israel received its first two F-35 fighter jets in late December 2016. The American pilots that come to us didn't experience that because they fly there, in Arizona, in Florida.

The fifth-generation fighter jet has been lauded as a "game-changer" by the Israeli military, not only for its offensive and stealth capabilities, but for its ability to connect its systems with other aircraft and form an information-sharing network.

The IAF has received nine F-35s so far, with the most recent pair of aircraft delivered in November.

Regardless, the stealthy F-35 is an important addition to the IAF's arsenal. The remaining 41 planes will be delivered in installments of twos and threes over the coming years.

Israel agreed to purchase 50 F-35 fighters in total from the United States. This makes Israel the second country in the world, after the United States, to have operational F-35s. The delivery is slated to be completed by 2021.

The aim of the purchase is to allow Israel to maintain its military superiority in the turbulent Middle East, particularly regarding its arch-foe Iran and the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system delivered to it by Russian Federation.



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