Israel's First F-35 Fighter Jets Delivered Yesterday
The first two F-35 Lightning II fighter jets arrived yesterday at Nevatim Air Force base in Israel’s southern region, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin were among those who waited on the tarmac as the new F-35s were delivered.
“I want to thank you, Secretary Carter, for coming here, with your wife, to mark this important milestone with us,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a special ceremony honoring the arrival of the new aircraft. “It’s a sign of both your personal friendship, your personal commitment to the U.S-Israel alliance...and I want to add to Israel’s security on many fronts and I wish to thank as well, on behalf of all the people of Israel, President Obama, the American Congress and the American people.”
The American pilot who delivered one of the F-35s recorded a special message regarding this monumental event. "It's a historical moment for you, the world and specifically the region, receiving this jet," he said.
The F-35 has been named "Adir," which in Hebrew means "the mighty one."
The state-of-the-art jet can cross Israel from north to south in just 13 minutes, according to an informational video from the Israel Defense Forces.
In total, the Israeli government has ordered fifty of the new Lockheed Martin jets, the remainder of which will be delivered by sea.
Israel Defense Forces officials said the new jets are expected to be fully operational within one year.
(Photo Courtesy of Lockheed Martin)