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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

New F-35 Batch to Arrive to Israel

Israel is preparing to receive another batch of F-35 fighter jets.

By the end of this week, Israel is due to receive its fourth batch of F-35 stealth fighter jets. Two aircraft are expected to arrive to Nevatim air base later in the week.

The new additions, which come 11 months after the first delivery, will bring the Israeli F-35 fleet to nine.

An Israeli officer, identified by Flight Global as Col. H, noted that the Israeli Air Force is currently working to bring its F-35s into service with Israeli-designed electronics. Regarding the ongoing testing, Col. H stated, "We are very pleased with the performance of the aircraft."

The Israeli F-35, once operational with the locally-designed systems, will be known as the F-35I Adir.

According to Col. H, Israel is currently studying a possible follow-up purchase for more F-35s, in addition to the 50 currently on order. During 2018, the Israeli government will debate over the potential acquisition, which would see Israel operate three full squadrons of the aircraft. Earlier this year, the Israeli Parliament suggested in a review that future procurement of the F-35 should be weighed against other alternatives as well, with an emphasis on ensuring cost effectiveness.

Flight Global reported, "Israeli sources indicate that Iran's efforts to gain more influence in countries such as Lebanon and Syria make the purchase of additional F-35Is more urgent, and that the decreasing price of the US-built type will be one of the main factors informing such a decision."

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