With the new addition, the IAF officially has in its possession 39 “Adir” jets, and an experimental aircraft known as AS-15 stationed at the Tel Nof base. The Israeli F-35 fleet reportedly crossed 20,000 cumulative flight hours in training, certification, and operational activity.
Israel was the first in the world to purchase the advanced fighter jets, as part of a military sales transaction with the American government signed in October 2010. The IAF then declared operational capability for the F-35 “Adir” in December 2017, after completing comprehensive training, training, and assimilation processes for the aircraft and its crews.
As of July, Lockheed Martin declared that 945 F-35s worldwide accumulated 691,000 cumulative flight hours, operating from 39 bases and aircraft carriers in nine countries around the world, and over 2,070 pilots and 14,525 maintenance personnel have been trained so far.
Israel approved the purchase of a third squadron of F-35s manufactured by Lockheed Martin in a $3-billion deal, the defense ministry said in early July. The equipping process of 25 more jets will continue in the coming years until the completion of all purchased aircraft.
In 2018, Israel became the first country to use the F-35s in combat, as part of the IDF’s operations across Syria, primarily targeting Iran-backed terrorists as well as Syrian army positions.
The U.S. recently declared that it will bolster its presence in the Middle East, with the deployment of the guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, as well as F-16 and F-35 fighter aircraft.
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