The “Lions of the South” 116th Squadron, the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) second “Adir” (F-35I) squadron, has officially become operational and will take an active part in the IAF’s operational activity.
For the last six months, the squadron’s personnel were trained in the various scenarios that they were required to face as part of their preparation for the operational fitness inspection that took place last week.
“The operational fitness inspection provides an official seal of approval for the operational capability of the 116th Squadron to carry out all the missions of the ‘Adir’ division. The squadron’s tasks include its management during routine and periods of war, as well as maintaining functional continuity”, explained Maj. Edi, the squadron’s technical officer.
“The inspection simulated the operational arena and the current regional tensions. Several scenarios led to a simulated war on all fronts, and aircrew members took off for missions in all of Israel’s regions”, shared Maj. G, leader of the operational fitness inspection and aircrew member in the squadron.
The first Adir (mighty) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) squadron was declared operational by the IAF in December 2017. The Israeli F-35 was the first outside of the US to be declared operational, preceded only by the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force.
The fifth-generation fighter jet, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is considered one of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft. Israel has acquired a total of 50 F-35s which are to be supplied by December 2024.