3 more F-35 stealth fighter jets to join Israeli Air Force on Sunday

Four months after the first two F-35 jets arrived at Israel’s Nevatim Air Force base in the Negev, three more "Adir" planes will land in Israel on Sunday.

Watch: F-35 aerial refueling drill over US skies

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Three more F-35 stealth fighter jets will arrive in Israel early next week to join the two planes that landed at the IAF Nevatim base last December. In anticipation of the new planes’ arrival, the IDF posted a video today (Thursday) with footage from a recent aerial refueling drill. This year, the new planes will take part in Israel’s annual Independence Day aerial show for the first time.

The planes, which will take off for Israel tomorrow, conducted a drill over US skies during which they refueled from an American refueling aircraft. The drill was accompanied by an F-16, which followed the session closely and provided the spectacular photographs.

Israel received its first stealth fighter jets in December 2016 Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson/ Channel 2 News

Air refueling capability is critical for fighter aircraft in modern times. The ability to receive additional fuel during an operational flight allows the fighter planes to significantly increase their flight range and thus attack or gather intelligence from places far away from Israel.

An F-35 takes off in the Negev Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson/ Channel 2 News

As previously reported by JOL, the fifth-generation fighter jets mark a significant leap forward in the capabilities of the Israeli Air Force, already considered the strongest in the region. The state-of-the-art technology installed in the aircraft will provide the pilots with advanced battlefield analysis capabilities. The jets, also known in Israel as “Adir" planes, are Israel’s first stealth fighter planes. By 2021, the IAF will have received a total of 50 F-35 jets.

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