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First Israeli F-35 Fighter Aircraft Rolls Off the Production Line in Texas

The first two F-35 aircraft, known in Israel as the Adir, are expected to arrive in Israel in mid-December and to go into service in the fall of 2017.

The first of the 33 F-35 fighter aircraft purchased by the Israel Air Force was displayed to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and an Israeli delegation at a Lockheed Martin factory in Fort Worth, Texas on Wednesday.
The state-of-the-art F-35, already nicknamed the Adir (Hebrew for mighty or glorious) in Israel, is considered the world's most advanced fighter aircraft.
The display of the aircraft is just the first step – albeit an important one – in a long process of manufacturing, quality control and transfer from the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, to the American government and from there to the Israeli government and the IAF.
For the first two aircraft, that process will end when they land at the Nevatim air force base near Be'er Sheva on December 12. They will be flown from the United States to Israel by American pilots, with mid-air refueling over the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean.
When they take off again the following day, they will be piloted by the commander of the Adir Squadron, Lt. Col. Yotam, and one of the five other pilots who make up the founding members of the squadron, all experienced majors.
A "dream team" of six IAF pilots, all F-15 and F-16 veterans, is currently in the U.S. learning about the plane, though not flying it. Their training has included time in a sophisticated simulator.
Wednesday's ceremony was testimony to the strong fabric of the relationship between the IAF, the defense ministry and the Israeli defense industries and Lockheed Martin, which also manufactured the F-16 fighter and the S-130 transport plane, as well as with the F-35 administration program in the Pentagon and the U.S. Armed Forces.
The first F-35 aircraft destined for use by the U.S. Armed Forces are currently being tested at bases in Arizona and Utah, prior to the official announcement of their air-worthiness by the U.S. Air Force, which is expected in about four months.
The first eight Israeli aircraft are expected to enter service with the IAF in the fall of 2017.
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot recently accepted the recommendation of IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel that an additional 17 F-35s be purchased. By 2021, the IAF is expected to have two squadrons of F-35s, with 25 planes in each.
A third squadron, which will increase the F-35 force to 75 aircraft, is planned for the coming decade.
The factory purchase price of each aircraft is $85 million. The addition of sophisticated avionic systems once they arrive in Israel will increase their value by several million dollars.

Amir Oren
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.726542

 

Schermata 2016 06 22 alle 20.36.23

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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