The "Adir" (F-35I) stealth fighter is expected to arrive in Israel on December 12 this year. Yesterday, its first test flight was conducted, already flying the Israeli Air Force Roundel. The flight, which was conducted about a month after the rollout ceremony in which the jet was displayed to the public for the first time, is a significant step in its journey to Israel.
The "Adir" isn't like any other fighter jet the IAF operates and its advanced technological features range from its unique structure to its advanced information systems. The F-35, or the "Lightning II" as it is called in the U.S, is the only international multirole fifth-gen fighter in the world. "We impatiently await the arrival of the F-35 jets. We are certain that for the IAF, with the ‘Adir' jets, even the sky isn't the limit", said Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman, the Chief of Air Staff, in the rollout ceremony. Photography: Lockheed Martin
The test flight conducted yesterday was the first in a series of tests that a "Lockheed Martin" test pilot will conduct on the jets. The purpose of the tests is to make sure that the jet is indeed fit for flight and is expected to be completed by November. The second Israeli F-35 jet will undergo the same series of test and is expected to land with its counterpart in Nevatim AFB.
"A few months ago, I had the privilege of flying the F-35 simulator here in Fort Worth", shared Brig. Gen. Kelman. "As a pilot that has flown a great variety of aircraft for over 30 years, I must share the feeling: It was like holding the future in my hands. The unique combination between split edge technology, lethality and amazing man - machine interface, will lead the world to the fifth generation".Photography: Lockheed Martin
Since the Israeli government decision was made in September 2010, IAF personnel have been working around the clock in preparation for the arrival of the stealth fighters, preparations that are now at their peak: the aircrew members are currently undergoing conversion training and learning about the aircraft, the technical crews have been in maintenance conversion training since April and the rest of the personnel are working in full swing in order to build the required infrastructure in Israel. Additionally, the unique squadron building and the simulator center are in advanced stages of construction.
"There is no doubt that the F-35 will become an integral part of our defense", added Brig. Gen. Kelman. "It will allow us to better ensure the safety of our citizens against our hostile neighbors and against the complex threats which may escalate at a moment's notice".