Israel grounds F-35 fighter jets after US crash

The Israeli military said its fleet of F-35 warplanes has been sidelined based on news of a similar aircraft crashing in the U.S.

By: AP and World Israel News

The Israeli military said the U.S. has shared the findings of its investigation into the F-35 crash two weeks ago. But Israel’s air force chief, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, wants to conduct additional tests on Israel’s F-35s.

The Israeli warplanes, purchased from the U.S., are a different model than the American one that crashed.

Israel said Thursday the testing will take several days, but the planes remain ready for operational action if needed.

In May, Israeli Air Force Commander Major General Amikam Norkin revealed that Israel was “the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity.”

“We attacked twice in the Middle East” with the F-35s, he explained. “The Israeli Air Force is a pioneer and a world leader in operating air power.”

The US-made stealth fighter arrived in Israel in December 2016 and the first IAF F-35 squadron, dubbed the “Golden Eagle,” was declared operational in December 2017. It was the first squad of its kind outside of the U.S. prepared for a mission and was preceded only by the U.S.’ Air Force and Marine Corps.

The fifth-generation aircraft is considered to be one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets.

Israel acquired a total of 50 F-35s which are slated for delivery by December 2024.