The Israeli Air Force has begun testing the new versions of its domestically-made weapon systems that will be carried by its Lockheed Martin F-35s. The first pair of conventional take-off and landing F-35A Adirs (‘adir’ means awesome in Hebrew) are scheduled to arrive on December 12, 2016.
The specific adaptations needed have not been disclosed, but Israeli media reports the list includes variants of precision-guided bombs and air-to-air missiles (infrared- and radar-guided). Testing is being done with Boeing F-15s and Lockheed F-16s.
The aircraft will then be equipped with new made-in-Israel C4 systems (command, control, communications, computers). The Defense Ministry requires all Israeli aircraft have unique electronics systems.
Six more Adir stealth fighters will be delivered in 2017, with the remaining 25 following over several years.
Several Israeli companies are developing parts of the F-35. Israel Aerospace Industries will manufacture more than 800 pairs of F-35 wings and Elbit Systems is in charge of the pilot’s helmet for the entire F-35 fleet. The helmet is the most advanced of its kind.
Meanwhile, the US administration has reiterated its promise to not sell the F-35 to other nations in the Middle East region for “the foreseeable future”, in order to maintain Israel’s future advantage in operating the advanced type.
May 6, 2016