Israel air force will receive new experimental F-35I stealth fighter aircraft

According to information released by the newspaper website "The Jerusalem Post" on June 17, 2020, Israeli Air Force will receive four F-35I Adir stealth fighter aircraft at the beginning of August 2020 as well as an experimental version of the F-35I Adir.

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Israel air force will receive new experimental F 35I stealth fighter aircraft 925 001 F-35I stealth fighter aircraft of Israeli Air Force. (Picture source Israeli Air Force)

Israel will receive three additional F-35I in November, bringing the Israel Air Force’s to have a total of 27 aircraft from the initial order of 50 units. Israel Air Force will have in the future two squadrons of F-35I by 2024 including the 140th “Golden Eagle” Squadron and the 116th “Lions of the South” both based at Nevatim Air Base.

Israel became the first country to select the F-35 through the United States government's Foreign Military Sales process when a Letter of Agreement was signed in October 2010. On June 22, 2016, the Israeli Air Force received the first F-35A Adir for Israel at a ceremony at the Fort Worth, Texas, F-35 factory. The Israeli Air Force declared its F-35 fleet operationally capable in December 2017, marking the completion of an intensive integration and training effort conducted at Nevatim AFB, Israel. The Israeli Air Force gave the F-35 the Hebrew name Adir which, meaning "Mighty One" in Hebrew.

According to other military sources, a new version of the F-35I will be used to counter Russian S-400 air defense missile systems and to withstand the Krasuha electronic warfare system. According to Israeli Air Force officer, the F-35I is a special version design for the Israeli Air Force featuring Israeli-made equipment.

In July 2011, it was reported that the U.S. had agreed to allow Israel to install its own electronic warfare systems and missiles in its F-35s in the future. In 2012 Lockheed was awarded a contract to make changes to the first Israeli F-35s to allow the installation of Israeli electronic warfare equipment produced by Elbit Systems. Israel also plans to install its own indigenously-produced guided bombs and air-to-air missiles in the F-35's internal weapon bays.

According to the Breaking Defense website the F-35I could be upgraded in the future with ELINT (Radar interception and analysis) system developed and produced in Israel.