One of the F-35I Adir stealth fighters has to complete its technical inspections before it can make the trip home
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has decided to delay the delivery of two Lockheed Martin F-35I Adir stealth fighters for Israel, which was scheduled for this week.
According to The Jerusalem Post in fact one of the jets has to complete its technical inspections before it can make the trip home.
While there were no problems discovered in the Israeli jets, “according to the decision of the US Air Force, the arrival of the two F-35 ‘Adir’ jets will be delayed for a short period of time in order to complete the technical inspection of aircraft,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said last week.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF), which has already received five F-35I “Adir” stealth fighters, was supposed to receive the two jets in the coming days followed by other two aircraft by November. Actually IAF is expected to announce initial operational capability (IOC) of the first F-35I squadron by Dec. 7.
However this delay will not affect the planned IOC declaration in December, the IDF said.
Noteworthy the arrival of the first two F-35s in Israel last December was also delayed by six hours due to inclement weather in Italy, where the planes had made a stop on their way from the U.S..
As we have explained the Israeli government has recently signed the necessary paperwork for a follow-on order of 17 Lockheed Martin F-35I Adir fighters for the IAF, bringing the total to 50 aircraft.
This order represents the third F-35 deal signed by the country Ministry of Defense. While in the first one Israel paid $125 million per plane for 19 F-35s in total, in the second deal, the price went down to $112 million per plane for 14 jets. Now Israel expects the price to drop below $90 million per plane for the additional 17 F-35Is.
Israeli F-35 deals have been severely criticized because the aircraft are more expensive than those purchased by USAF since they feature several unique (and indigenous) systems to satisfy IAF operational requirements. The Adirs in fact have components built by Israeli companies, including Israel Aerospace Industries, which produces the outer wings, Elbit System-Cyclone, which builds the center fuselage composite components and Elbit Systems Ltd., which manufactures the helmets worn by the pilots.
Moreover the F-35I will be able to carry Israeli weapons as well as Israeli electronic attack pods.
Photo credit: Israeli Air Force
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