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After the F-35 gets to Israel, it will fitted with made-in-Israel electronic systems immediately following arrival

Israeli Air Force gears up for Dec. 12 arrival of the first two F-35 Adir jets, considered to be the next-generation aircraft • Aircraft to be fitted with made-in-Israel electronic systems immediately following arrival • Total of 33 ordered by Israel.

Aharon Lapidot

The development of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter has been the subject of widespread criticism over performance issues, but the Israeli Air Force has already made extensive preparations to welcome the next-generation aircraft, which will be known as the Adir.

On June 22, the first Israel-bound F-35 will be christened at the Lockheed Martin plant at Fort Worth, Texas.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will lead the Israeli delegation at that ceremony, which will include senior Israeli officers and Defense Ministry officials.

After the first two F-35 aircraft arrive in Israel on Dec. 12, they will get new made-in-Israel C4 systems (C4 stands for Command, Control, Communications, Computers). This step is designed to meet the Defense Ministry requirement that all Israeli aircraft have unique electronic systems. The Israeli systems are tailor-made for the IAF’s requirements, giving it a technological edge and the element of surprise.

Aside from the two that will arrive in December, six Adirs are expected to arrive through 2017. The Nevatim Airbase in the Negev Desert will serve as the home for the first Adir squadron. The Defense Ministry ordered 33 Adirs from Lockheed Martin, their manufacturer, at a total cost of about $5.5 billion. The funding comes from the American military aid to Israel.

Several Israeli companies have taken part in the development of the plane, and the parts they manufacture will go to other aircraft recipients as well. Elbit Systems is in charge of developing the pilot helmet for the entire F-35 fleet. It is considered to be the most advanced helmet of its kind. The Israel Aerospace Industries will manufacture more than 800 pairs of F-35 wings.

Last month, the Israel Defense magazine and the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies hosted a conference called “IAF Challenges and the Arrival of the F-35 Fighter.”

IAF Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman told conference participants: “The F-35 Adir is


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