The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has announced that the first test F-35I (Adir) aircraft has arrived at the IAF Flight Testing Center (FTC) at Tel-Nof Air Force Base.

Featuring advanced experimenting capabilities, the aircraft marks a new phase for the IAF FTC Squadron and is expected to boost the capabilities of the IAF.

Tel-Nof AFB commander brig brigadier general Cohen said: “With the new addition of the ‘Adir’ to the lines of experimental aircraft in the Israeli Air Force’s FTC Squadron, we are witnessing a historic event, the magnitude of which cannot be underestimated, a meaningful cornerstone in the IAF’s inauguration and development of the F-35 division.

“To the FTC Squadron personnel, the absorption of the ‘Adir’ poses new challenges.

“I have no doubt that by virtue of your skill and professional spirit you will know, as you have proven in the past, how to challenge the limits of the ‘Adir’s’ capabilities, and lead the IAF through toward new horizons”.

The IAF had installed its electronic warfare, communications and weapons systems on the previous aircraft, which will accommodate the platforms based on the needs of the operations.

FTC Squadron is equipped with a systems department while the aircraft feature systems to collect data. The systems department collects and analyses the data from the aircraft.

FTC Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Y said: “The arriving ‘Adir’ model has advanced aeromechanical testing capabilities and full operational capabilities.

“Similar to other equipped testing aircraft in the FTC, we could, if necessary, convert the model to an operational one.

“The test ‘Adir’ model is the first-ever to be manufactured in the US, per our request. Now, they will likely produce additional aircraft based on the current model for themselves.

“As soon as we’re fully prepared, we will be able to advance the ‘Adir’ Division and its capabilities.”