Photo Credit: Lt. Col. E. / IDF
F-35I 'Adir' fighter jets in formation

Israel Air Force Commander Major-General Tomer Bar has ordered a comprehensive inspection of each “Adir” F-35 combat aircraft before its first flight.

The instruction came in response to a report received from the United States detailing a possible defect in the ejection mechanism of the pilots’ seats in the aircraft.

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Bar held a situation assessment Saturday evening to discuss the report, after which he ordered a general inspection of the aircraft, to be carried out by technical teams.

“The tests must be done in a strict and thorough manner in order to return the formation to full competence while maintaining a high safety standard,” Bar said.

It is expected the teams will complete the inspections in the coming days, the Air Force said.

Israel’s Air Force is part of a global array of countries operating the F-35. The IAF “works in cooperation with its counterparts and with the manufacturers… to meet an extremely strict standard, designed to maintain the safety of the air crews in training and operational activities.

“We emphasize that operational tasks required from the “Adir” formation until the end of the inspection will be subject to the individual approval of the corps commander,” the IAF said.

“Both the US Air Force and we are acting accordingly,” said an IAF spokesperson. “We will not take unnecessary risks; we will begin tests and manage the issue.”

The US Air Force grounded most of its F-35s to inspect faulty ejection seats, the country’s military service said Friday.

Last week the US Air Force ordered inspections of all the F-35’s ejection seats within the next 90 days, according to a spokeswoman for Air Combat Command, the Air Force headquarters that oversees the majority of F-35s based in the United States.

“Out of an abundance of caution, ACC units will execute a stand-down on July 29 to expedite the inspection process,” Alexi Worley, a service spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement to Defense One. “Based on data gathered from those inspections, ACC will make a determination to resume operations.”

Issues were found in some aircraft with explosive cartridges used to propel a pilot’s ejection seat out of the fighter jet, according to the report.

Navy officials said last Tuesday they also found the problem in several variants of the F/A-18, the E/A-18G Growler, and two training jets.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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