14:11 GMT20 June 2021
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    Three new Lockheed F-35 joint strike fighters have arrived at Nevatim air base in Israel, to enter service along with another two that were purchased late last year. They are the first five of 50 expected to be delivered by 2021.

    After landing, an Israeli Air Force emblem was placed on the planes, officially marking them as Israeli property.

    These five jets, codenamed "Adir" (the Mighty One) in Israel, will become the IAF's eponymous Adir squadron. Despite the fact that the squadron is not yet operational yet, at least three of the jets are expected to take part in the traditional Independence Day flyover on May 1 later this year.

    The Israeli version of F-35, the F-35I, is built with use of Israeli-manufactured parts, including fuselage components, wing parts and components of pilot equipment.

    Israeli military officials believe that this plane, under fire for its massive price tag of $100 million per plane and for numerous technical difficulties, will deliver Israel total air superiority, including over the Russian-made S-300 anti-air defense system, recently acquired by Iran.

    In a welcoming ceremony held for the first two planes delivered last year, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that the "the aircraft will change the rules of the game. Our enemies already know that it's not worthwhile to harm Israel."

    Overwhelming air superiority for Israel may still be a way off: it will take at least several months before the planes will be declared combat operational, and both pilots and technicians will need time to familiarize themselves with the new tech.

    According to the Jerusalem post, "once the jets arrive in Israel, they will not leave except for combat missions."

    Israel expects 45 more planes to arrive before 2021, at the rate of a handful every few months.


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    jet fighter, arms delivery, arms deal, F-35, IAF, Israel
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