From the official “Lockheed Martin” announcement, through the signing of the acquisition deal to the arrival of the F-35I stealth fighter in Israel. The journey of the “Adir”

Eilon Tohar

And we’re off, October 2001
News stations from all over the world turned their cameras to a Pentagon press conference that announced that the contract for the JSF’s (Joint Strike Fighter) SDD (System Development and Demonstration) had been awarded to “Lockheed Martin”.

The Journey of the Adir

Intensifying the Partnership, February 2003
Israel signed a formal letter of agreement to join the SDD effort for the F-35 as an SCP (Security Cooperation Participant),) a status that promised the reception of routine updates regarding the development of the jet, the option to modify the jet in accordance with the IAF’s requirements, and the Israeli Security Industries ability to compete for contracts regarding the development and production of the stealth fighter’s systems.

Now it’s Official, September 2007
The acquisition of the F-35 jet was officially approved in the IDF’s multi-year plan. The stealth fighter was officially announced as the IAF’s next fighter jet.

The Journey of the Adir

Photography: Lockheed Martin

Signing the Deal, October 2010
Israel and the U.S sign the F-35 deal, which asserted that the IAF will receive 20 stealth fighters in the first stage.

“A new generation”, November 2012
Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, visited the U.S, met the USAF Commander, toured the F-35 assembly line and flew in its advanced simulator. “This is a new generation of aircraft and of abilities. It will do much more than any other aircraft in our fleet”, said Maj. Gen. Eshel in an interview for the IAF Magazine.

The Journey of the Adir

Israeli Pride, October 2013
“Lockheed Martin” announced that the Israeli “Elbit Systems” will produce the F-35 pilot helmets.

The Journey of the Adir

Name Day, April 2013
The F-35 received its Israeli name, “Adir” (Hebrew for Mighty) which expresses its unique abilities. The jet’s name was open for suggestions from the public via the IAF website and from 1,700 suggestions collected, Nevatim AFB’s was chosen.

Spread Your Wings, November 2014
An F-35 wings assembly line was established in IAI (Israel Aviation Industries). As part of the deal that was estimated at $2.5B, the company is expected to manufacture about 800 pairs of wings.

The Journey of the Adir

History in the Making, November 2014
Brig. Gen. Lihu HaCohen, the former Commander of Nevatim AFB, laid the cornerstone for the “Adir” Squadron building and simulator. “There are few periods in time as significant as this one”, said Brig. Gen. Hacohen. “A new and advanced aircraft is entering the Middle East and in our area everything is significant”.

The Journey of the Adir

The First Squadron, August 2015
The “Golden Eagle” Squadron was reestablished as the IAF’s first “Adir” Squadron.

 

The Journey of the Adir

 

Taking Off, April 2016
The first “Adir” technicians take off for conversion training in a USAF Base in Florida in order to become qualified to maintain the stealth fighter.

 

The Journey of the Adir

 

The “Adir” is Revealed, June 2016
The first F-35I jet was exhibited in an official rollout ceremony held in “Lockheed Martin” Fort Worth, Texas. “Today is a special day for the IAF”, said Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman, IAF Chief of Staff. “It marks a quantum leap in Israel’s strategic abilities and the deep partnership and commitment between it and the U.S.A”.

The Journey of the Adir

Photography: Lockheed Martin

 

Flying a Stealth Fighter, July 2016
The “Golden Eagle” Squadron’s aircrews took off for a four month long training period in the US in order to learn how to fly the “Adir” and operate its systems.

 

The Journey of the Adir

 

It’s in the Air, July 2016
The first F-35I “Adir” jet successfully performed its first test flight.

 

The Journey of the Adir

Photography: Lockheed Martin

The Symbol of the “Adir” Division is Revealed, September 2016
The symbol, which was designed by Ra’anan Weiss, has a number of unique characteristics such as its black color, which represents the “Adir’s” stealth abilities, the silver frame represents the jet’s color and its shape, a pentagon, represents the fifth generation of fighter jets.

The Journey of the Adir

 

The “Adir” Landing, December 2016
Two stealth fighters land in Nevatim AFB.

 

The Journey of the Adir

Photography: Lockheed Martin

 

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