Lockheed Martin begins assembling Israel’s first F-35A

12 January 2016 (Last Updated January 12th, 2016 18:30)

Lockheed Martin has officially commenced the assembling process of the first F-35 stealth fifth-generation joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft being manufactured for the Israel Air Force (IAF).

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Lockheed Martin has officially commenced the assembling process of the first F-35 stealth fifth-generation joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft being manufactured for the Israel Air Force (IAF).

Designated as AS-1 or Adir, the F-35A aircraft will have its four major components joined together in the electronic mate and assembly station to form the aircraft's structure.

Lockheed Martin F-35 programme manager Jeff Babione said: "Today marks a new beginning for tactical aviation for Israel.

"Lockheed Martin is proud of our long and storied relationship with Israel's armed forces. The F-35A Adir strengthens our solid relationship with the IAF and ensures that the Israeli aerospace industry will remain strong for decades to come."

"These fifth-generation aircraft will greatly enhance the IAF's ability to defend the State of Israel from the serious threats we face."

The fifth-generation fighter is scheduled to be delivered to the IAF later this year.

Israel Ministry of Defense Mission New York director Aharon Marmarosh said: "These fifth-generation aircraft will greatly enhance the IAF's ability to defend the State of Israel from the serious threats we face."

Israel had placed a contract for the purchase of 33 F-35A Adir conventional take off and landing (CTOL) aircraft last year to replace its aging F-15 and F-16 aircraft and boost its deterrence in the Middle East.

Israel, although a security cooperation participant, is not a full-fledged member of the nine-nation joint strike fighter squadron programme.


Image: The F-35A aircraft, AS-1 or Adir, is scheduled to be delivered to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) later this year. Photo: ©2016 Lockheed Martin Corporation.