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Israel’s First F-35 Lightning II Takes Flight

Fort Worth, Texas // July 26, 2016

The first Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-35A Lightning II aircraft, known as the “Adir,” (meaning “Mighty One” in Hebrew) flew its first Lockheed Martin company check flight from the F-35 production facility here July 25.

Known as aircraft AS-1, the jet debuted in a rollout ceremony here June 22, attended by Israel’s Minster of Defense Avigdor Liberman, Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman, IAF Chief of Staff, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, among other distinguished guests.

The first F-35 Adir and aircraft AS-2, the IAF’s second F-35, will deliver to Nevatim Air Base, Israel, in mid-December to begin pilot training operations there. Israel’s program of record is 33 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing, or CTOL, aircraft, acquired through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Israel’s F-35 will be a significant addition to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East region, with its advanced capability to defeat emerging threats, including advanced missiles and heavily-defended airspace.