Lockheed Martin and Israeli Ministry of Defense officials commemorated the beginning of the first F-35A «Adir» (meaning «mighty one» in Hebrew) manufactured for Israel here January 7.
The aircraft, designated as F-35A aircraft AS-1, officially began its mate process, where the four major components of the 5th Generation fighter aircraft are joined together in the Electronic Mate and Assembly Station to form the aircraft’s structure. AS-1 will continue its assembly here and is expected to roll out of the factory in June and be delivered to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) later this year.
«These 5th Generation aircraft will greatly enhance the IAF’s ability to defend the State of Israel from the serious threats we face», said Aharon Marmarosh, director, Israel Ministry of Defense Mission in New York.
«Today marks a new beginning for tactical aviation for Israel», said Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager. «Lockheed Martin is proud of our long and storied relationship with Israel’s armed forces. The F-35A Adir strengthens our solid relationship with the IAF and ensures that the Israeli aerospace industry will remain strong for decades to come».
Israel has contracted for 33 F-35A Adir Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program. Israel’s contribution to the F-35 program 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 center fuselage composite components production.
The F-35A Adir will be a significant addition to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East, with the advanced capability to defeat emerging threats, such as advanced missiles and heavily-defended airspace through its combination of low-observability and sensor fusion. The F-35A Lightning II, a 5th generation fighter, combines advanced low observable stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.