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12 Things To Know About The Israeli F-35 “Super” Stealth Fighter
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Here are few things to know about the hi-tech plane and Israel's purchase of it:
1. The plane built by US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is the most expensive in history.
2. Proponents tout its radar-dodging stealth technology, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparallelled access to information.
3. It includes its own operating system, with data that appears on the visor and is also shared elsewhere. Thermal and night vision as well as 360-degree views are possible with cameras mounted on the plane.
4. Israel is buying its first 33 jets at an average price of about $110 million (103.5 million euros) each. As a comparison, in 2001, Israel agreed to buy 52 additional F-16s from Lockheed Martin at a total cost of $1.3 billion.
5. Israel, which receives more than $3 billion per year in US defence aid, says it will be the first country outside the United States to have an operational F-35 squadron.
6. Israeli components will be integrated into the plane, and its arrival is being welcomed as a major event for the country's military as it seeks to maintain dominance in the turbulent Middle East.
7. Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems, two Israeli companies, are among firms that have benefitted from contracts linked to the plane's production.
8. Israel's military will give the plane the name "Adir," or "mighty" in Hebrew.
9. It will be receiving the F-35A model for standard take-offs and landings. The B and C models are for short take-offs and aircraft carriers. Israel's version will be known as the F-35I.
10. Lockheed Martin describes the plane's stealth capabilities as unprecedented, allowing it to evade the most sophisticated missile systems.
11. The single-pilot jets can travel at a supersonic speed of Mach 1.6, or around 1,200 miles per hour (around 1,900 kilometres per hour). It can carry up to 18,000 pounds (8,200 kg) of weaponry, but that amount is reduced in stealth mode.
12. The planes are designed for multiple combat situations. The plane's ultra hi-tech helmet comes at a cost of some $400,000 each.
But the program has faced numerous setbacks, including a mysterious engine fire in 2014 that led commanders to ground planes until the problem could be resolved. It is unclear when the planes will see combat. Israel says its first planes will be operational within a year.
In the United States, the air force declared an initial squadron of F-35As ready for combat in August, without giving a timeline for actual combat.
The US Marine Corps in 2015 announced that a first group of F-35Bs had attained initial operational capability, though these too have not yet been used in combat.
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