US defense secretary to introduce F-35 fighter jet in Israel

The arrival of the F-35 figher jets symbolizes the close cooperation between the US and Israel, say leading officials from both countries.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is scheduled to arrive in Israel next week to attend a ceremony where the Israel Air Force (IAF) will receive the first two of the American F-35 stealth fighter jets purchased by Israel.

“The arrival of the aircraft highlights the close defense cooperation between the US and Israel,” the US Pentagon stated.

Carter will also conduct a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

The fifth generation stealth fighter jet, referred to in Israel as “Adir,” Hebrew for “mighty one,” was unveiled at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 22 of this year.

“Today Israel is surrounded by unprecedented military threats,” Liberman said at the time. “The airplanes will improve the IDF’s ability to protect Israel from the region’s growing threats.”

IAF Chief of Staff Brigadier General Tal Kelman, who attended the unveiling ceremony with Liberman, also shared accolades about the fighter jet.

“It symbolizes a leap in the strategic capabilities of the State of Israel and it symbolizes the partnership and the unbreakable commitment between the United States and Israel,” Kelman said back in June.

Israel had already purchased 33 of the stealth fighter jets before the unveiling ceremony this past summer. Last month, Israel’s security cabinet approved the purchase of 17 additional F-35 jets, bringing the total number that have been purchased, up to 50. Senior IAF officials, including Kelman, hope to increase the number of Adir stealth fighter jets to about 75 in the near future.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News