The head of Israel’s defense delegation to the US, Aharon Marmarosh, has signed off on the first F-35 fighter jet, received from American military and defense company Lockheed Martin, Israel National News reported Sunday. The two parties celebrated the near completion of the jet, nicknamed “Adir”, which will be finished and launched in June.
The ceremony took place in Fort Worth, Texas, and included the Israeli delegate signing over the completion of the external body of the plane. He wrote, “Onwards and upwards. May you succeed in all of your duties.”
With the body complete, work can now be started on vital internal systems, such as advanced electronics, as well as on the powerful engines.
“This is an historic day for the Defense Ministry and for Israel, wherein we receive the body of the first F-35 ‘Adir’ plane,” said Marmarosh. “The new F-35 planes – which are the fifth generation of planes, and the most advanced that the Defense Ministry has purchased – will allow for the continued advancement of the Israeli Air Force, and will greatly increase their capabilities of defending Israel against a variety of potential threats.”
“Today signifies the next step in tactical defense for Israel,” added Jeff Babione, head of the F-35 project for Lockheed Martin. “Lockheed Martin is pleased with the continuing and long-standing partnership with the IDF and the Israeli Defense Ministry. The F-35s will ensure continued partnership between Lockheed Martin and the Israeli Defense Ministry, as well as the Israeli Air Force, for decades to come.”
The F-35 is a Joint Strike fighter jet, which is a stealth jet. Thus far, the Israeli Defense Ministry has purchased 33 of these “type A” F-35’s, which are capable of regular takeoff and landing procedures. Each plane cost $110 million, for a total cost of over 3 billion shekels.
According to the purchase deal, originally signed in 2010, the first two planes will arrive in Israel later this year, with subsequent planes being delivered by year’s end, 2021.