The first F-35 is expected to arrive in Israel in 2015, but Israeli pilots will be able to start training on it in the U.S. in 2014.
The F-35 is a stealth fighter aircraft produced by Lockheed Martin. It is considered to be the most advanced fighter aircraft to date. A multi-mission aircraft, it is intended both for attack and interception. Its development began in 2003 as a joint initiative of the United States and the United Kingdom.
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s office, the IAF has determined that the new F-35 fighter planes will be located at the Nevatim Airbase in the Negev. The decision to place the new planes at Nevatim was based on infrastructure and training considerations, as well as the IDF’s vision of moving many of its bases to the Negev.
Operational and environmental considerations also played a role in the decision.
The deal to acquire the F-35 was signed last year and the planes are expected to arrive in Israel over the next few years.
Nevatim Base Commander Brig. Gen. Ronen Samchi, said he was proud to have been chosen as the home of the new fighter planes, “which will turn Nevatim into a strategic base constituting a powerful element in the battle array.”
The Nevatim Airbase was established in 1982 and participates in all of the IAF’s operational activities. In April 2008, the base was expanded and it now has the longest runway in the Middle East.