Israeli Air Force's F-35 Lightning II variant Adir completes maiden flight
The Israeli Air Force's (IAF) first Adir (F-35I) has completed its maiden test flight ahead of its delivery to the country on 12 December this year.
A pilot from Lockheed Martin carried out the flight test at the company's facility to validate the plane's airworthiness.
Adir, fitted with advanced information systems, is Israel's variant of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
IAF chief of air staff brigadier general Tal Kelman said: "A few months ago, I had the privilege of flying the F-35 simulator here in Fort Worth.
"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.”
The test is the first in a series of tests that Lockheed Martin will conduct on the aircraft by November this year.
The second F-35I jet will undergo the same series of test and is expected to land with its counterpart in Nevatim Air Force Base.
The Israeli government had announced plans to acquire F-35I stealth fighters in September 2010.
IAF aircrew members are currently undergoing conversion training and learning about the aircraft, while the technical crews are taking part in maintenance conversion training since April and the rest of the personnel are working to build the required infrastructure in Israel.
Additionally, the simulator centre is in the advanced stages of construction.
Kelman further added: "There is no doubt that the F-35 will become an integral part of our defence.
"It will allow us to better ensure the safety of our citizens against our hostile neighbours and against the complex threats which may escalate at a moment's notice".
Image: Israeli Air Force's Adir in flight. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.