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    Israel Bolsters Air Superiority with Additional F-35I Adir Stealth Fighters

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    In a move to fortify its aerial might, Israel is set to expand its fleet of advanced F-35I Adir stealth fighters with an additional 25 aircraft, as part of a $3 billion deal.

    Amidst the backdrop of soaring tensions with Iranian-backed adversaries, these fifth-generation combat jets serve as a linchpin in Israel’s strategic defense and offensive capabilities.

    The “Adir” jets first flight in Israel
    Pictured: “Adir” jet and F-16I “Sufa”
    Photo by: Maj. Ofer

    הטיסה הראשונה של מטוסי ה”אדיר” בשמי ישראל
    בתמונה: מטוס ה”אדיר” ומטוס ה”ספוה”
    צילום: רס”ן עופר

    Israel has historically maintained a qualitative military edge (QME) in the Middle East, a necessity dictated by the region’s persistent hostilities. The acquisition of the F-35I Adir – an aircraft that embodies might in both name and nature – underscores Israel’s commitment to this doctrine.

    Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-35I Adir

    The F-35I is not merely a machine of war; it is a multi-faceted tool designed to ensure Israel’s sovereignty and security against a spectrum of threats.

    The “Adir” jets first flight in Israel
    Pictured: “Adir” jet and F-16I “Sufa”
    Photo by: Maj. Ofer

    הטיסה הראשונה של מטוסי ה”אדיר” בשמי ישראל
    בתמונה: מטוס ה”אדיר” ומטוס ה”ספוה”
    צילום: רס”ן עופר

    The Israeli Air Force (IAF) already possesses a formidable fleet of these stealth warplanes, tailored specifically to the country’s defense needs.

    The deal, signed in Washington D.C., marks a significant increment, bringing the total inventory to 75, as confirmed by the Israeli Ministry of Defense: “The Israeli Ministry of Defense has signed an agreement with the US government for the third squadron of the ‘Adir’ (F-35) aircraft, which will be integrated into the Israel Defense Forces.”

    The F-35I plays a critical role in Israel’s defense strategy, as illustrated by the recent exchange of hostilities where it intercepted Iranian drones and missiles.

    While Iran launched a staggering salvo of over 300 drones and missiles towards Israel, the country’s defense systems, including the F-35I Adir, successfully neutralized most of these threats, with only a few ballistic missiles causing minor damage to the Nevatim Airbase.

    The importance of the F-35I Adir to Israel’s defense strategy cannot be overstated. In the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the addition of the F-35 to Israel’s arsenal has made their “long arm… longer and mightier.” This capability is particularly poignant when considering the potential for long-range strikes deep inside hostile territory.

    The F-35I is not just any fighter jet; it is a unique variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35, known as the “Adir,” meaning “Mighty” in Hebrew. This variant boasts bespoke modifications, such as a custom electronic warfare system, domestically produced sensors, and countermeasures, tailored datalink functionality, and a helmet-mounted display specifically designed for the IAF.

    The IAF’s fleet of these specialized fifth-generation fighters was the focus of Iran’s aggression when the Nevatim Air Base was targeted in a shocking missile attack earlier this year. The base was targeted precisely because it was home to Israel’s F-35I fleet.

    As reports indicate, the F-35Is deployed during the attack played a decisive role in intercepting the incoming missiles and even struck military outposts belonging to Hezbollah.

    Israel’s insistence on integrating its own sophisticated technology into the F-35I, along with the procurement of additional units, reflects a strategic approach to its national defense that aligns with the country’s historical ethos of self-reliance and innovation.

    The presence of these advanced aircraft, armed with air-to-air weapons like the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120D, reaffirms Israel’s aerial supremacy.

    The delivery of the new fighters is anticipated to commence in 2028, which may seem distant but is strategically timed to ensure continuity of Israel’s aerial dominance.

    Relevant articles:
    F-35I Adir: The Stealth Fighter Only Israel Can Fly (Not America), The National Interest
    Israel to add 25 more F-35s under latest $3bn deal, flightglobal.com
    F-35I Adir: Israel Has a Special Stealth Fighter Even America Doesn’t Fly, The National Interest
    F-35I Adir: The Special Stealth Fighter Only Israel Can Fly, 19FortyFive

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