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Israeli Air Force ready to create its first squadron with F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft 1306133

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World Air Force News - Israel
 
 
Israeli Air Force ready to create its first squadron with F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.
 
Israel's air force is getting ready to absorb its first squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the combat jet that will assure the country's aerial supremacy for years to come. But it's getting other U.S. aircraft as well as part of the $100 billion Middle Eastern arms deal announced by the Pentagon in February.
     
Israel's air force is getting ready to absorb its first squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the combat jet that will assure the country's aerial supremacy for years to come. But it's getting other U.S. aircraft as well as part of the $100 billion Middle Eastern arms deal announced by the Pentagon in February.
The conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A is a multirole, supersonic, stealth fighter that has extraordinary acceleration and 9-g maneuverability and agility.
     

These include Boeing KC-135 aerial tankers that will greatly extend Israel's strategic reach.

No number has been specified, but expanding Israel's in-flight refueling capacity, potentially doubling it, greatly enhances its prospects in mounting preventive airstrikes against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The air force is also getting as many as 30 Italian-built M-346 Master advanced jet trainers as part of a $1 billion contract signed in early 2012 with Alenia Aermacchi.

These will replace the air force's venerable Vietnam-era Douglas A-4 Skyhawks. At one time the air force had 200 of the agile jets that saw combat in several Middle Eastern wars.

The first nine M-346s are slated to arrive in mid-2014, with all delivered by 2015. The jets will be based at the Hazerim flying school near Beersheba in the southern Negev Desert.

The first of 20 multirole, single-engine F-35s ordered by Israel in October 2010 at a cost of $2.75 billion are scheduled to arrive in 2016 at the earliest, but the air force is already setting up a new infrastructure to absorb the stealth jets.

The first F-35 squadron is expected to be deployed at the sprawling Nevatim airbase in the Negev, which already holds two F-16 squadrons and one operating Lockheed C-130 Hercules transports.