Military Aviation

Israeli Pilots with Foreign Passports Barred by US from Flying IAF F-35I Adir Stealth Fighter Aircraft

Sources claim the IAF accepted this stipulation and gave up assigning pilots to F-35I Adir aircraft.

In fear of information security and technology leaks Israel Air Force (IAF) pilots with foreign passports are being barred by US Defense Department and intelligence authorities from flying F-35I Adir fighter jets.

According to The Jerusalem Post, this move by the US stems from an increasingly expanding focus on information security and safeguarding US interests. As a result, sources claim the IAF accepted this stipulation and gave up assigning pilots to F-35 Adir aircraft. As already reported the IAF reported on Dec. 25, 2022 that following the crash of a US F-35B fighter jet in Texas on Dec. 15, and the recommendation of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO), 11 Israeli F-35I fighter jets have been grounded.

All planes ordered by IAF belong to the F-35A variant designated F-35I Adir in Israel.

Israel became the first country to select the F-35 through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process when a Letter of Agreement was signed in October 2010. On Jun. 22, 2016, the IAF received the first F-35 for Israel at a ceremony at the Fort Worth, Texas, F-35 factory. The service 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 IAF gave the F-35 the Hebrew name Adir which, meaning “Mighty One” in Hebrew.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

Israel has 33 F-35Is delivered so far and they are assigned to the 116th Lions of the South Squadron and the 140th Golden Eagle Squadron.

Moreover, US government officials recently reached out to the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and expressed concern about the fact that IDF officers uses cars made in China purchased by the Israeli military.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the US expressed worries that Chinese cars with advanced multimedia systems could tag sensitive information from IDF officers’ cellphones and store them in a Cloud network for Chinese intelligence.

Nevertheless, a compromise was found on this issue, with sensitive information being transferred to a protected and secure Israeli Cloud system.

Photo credit: Israel Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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