Lockheed Martin Rolls Out First Israeli F-35A
Lockheed Martin [LMT] unveiled the first F-35A Joint Strike Fighter for the Israeli air force during a ceremony Wednesday at the company’s jet manufacturing facility in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Israeli has named its version of the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A the “Adir,” which means “mighty one” in Hebrew. It will be the first country to take possession of a combat-coded, fully operational jet outside the United States when the first F-35 is delivered in December.
“By sharing technology and talent throughout the development program the F-35 Adir has become the most technologically advanced fighter in the region and will remain at the forefront of innovation for decades to come,” Lockheed Martin President and Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson said during the unveiling ceremony. “A new bar of excellence will be raised in tactical aviation and this combat fighter will provide deterrence by its very presence.”
Israel has been a partner in the program since the inception of its international participation and was the first to select the F-35 through a foreign military sale in 2010. Israeli Aerospace Industries (AIA) will develop outer wings sets for more than 800 jets for that nation and others in the program. Elbit Systems contributed much of the technology that went into the F-35 pilot helmet built by Rockwell Collins [COL]. Elbit also performs Cyclone F-35 center fuselage composite components production.
Six Israeli companies have already contracted for $778 million in work relating to the F-35, according to Lockheed Martin. The country's program of record is for 33 CTOL F-35As.
“Our Israeli industrial partners have contributed significant manufacturing and engineering expertise to the F-35 program, which has without question enhanced its innovation,” said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president of aeronautics.
The ceremony was attended also by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott (R), retired Maj. Gen. and former Commander of the Israeli Air Force Ido Nehoshtan and F-35 Joint Program Office Chief Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, among other officials from the U.S. and Israeli militaries and industry.
Lieberman, fresh off a meeting in Washington with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, said the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were “impatiently awaiting” the F-35 and fielding its capabilities.