A CEREMONY was held today, June 22, at Lockheed Martin’s Plant 4 facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to roll out the first Israeli Air Force F-35A Lightning II, which is locally designated the F-35I and named the Adir, Hebrew for Mighty One.
The aircraft, AS-1, will be delivered to the IAF in December this year. The first F-35I unit will be 140 ‘Golden Eagle’ Squadron at Nevatim Air Base in the Negev Desert.
As previously reported on AFD, final assembly of this aircraft had begun on January 7. Israel has to date contracted for 33 F-35A Adir aircraft through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales programme and has options on a further 17. Deliveries of the firm order aircraft are due to be completed by 2021.
Israel’s contribution to the F-35 programme includes Israel Aerospace Industries F-35A wing production; Elbit Systems Ltd. work on the Generation III helmet-mounted display system, which all F-35 pilots fleet-wide will wear; and Elbit Systems-Cyclone F-35 centre fuselage composite components production. Dave Allport