The Israeli air force has declared that its fleet of Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter aircraft is ready for combat operations.
Israel’s F-35s, named Adir, obtained initial operational capability after a year of training, which began when the country received its first aircraft in December 2016, Israel’s defense forces said Wednesday.
Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, commander of the Israeli air force, said Adir will support the country’s air force as it operates “on a large scale on a number of fronts in a dynamic Middle East.”
The IOC was declared following an assessment of five of Israel’s nine existing F-35 planes, FlightGlobal reported Thursday.
Lt. Col. Yotam, commander of the 140th “Golden Eagle” squadron that operates the Adir fleet, said the jets will be deployed during Israel’s next military campaign.
Yotam added that the Israeli air force still needs to conduct tests, develop combat doctrines and gain “extensive learning” under its F-35 program.