Israel becomes first country to use United States made F-35 planes

JALAA MAREY

JALAA MAREY

Norkin made the comments while showing a picture of one Israeli F-35 flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

According to Israeli air force chief, Israel is now the first country to use the USA made F-35 stealth fighter in combat.

In response to the IRGC attack, Israel conducted dozens of raids against Iranian targets in Syria, hitting approximately 50 positions.

The Israeli Air Force commander also revealed that four of the Iranian rockets were intercepted while the rest fell in Syrian territory.

Israel was the first regime outside the USA to obtain the fighter jet.

On Tuesday, in addition to IAF chief Norkin, the conference-goers were set to hear from former senior defense official Amos Gilad, a central voice in Israel's strategic planning; Danny Shapira, one of the founders of the IAF; Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin; Yossi Leshem, a renowned Israeli ornithologist who has worked closely with the IAF; US Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of the US Air Force in Europe; Australian Maj.

The US has certainly put a lot of faith in a programme that is expected to run through to 2070 and is projected to cost $1.5tn by then. It is considered the most expensive military weapons system in history.

The air force chief's comments came amid a bipartisan effort by US lawmakers to stop the sale of the F-35 to Turkey, one of several countries that participated in the aircraft's development.

Last month, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., James Lankford, R-Okla., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., introduced a measure to stop the transfer of the F-35A to Turkey.

"Turkey's strategic decisions regrettably fall more and more out of line with, and at times in contrast to, US interests", Lankford said in a statement quoted by Military.com.

Besides Turkey, the U.K., Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway and Denmark have been part of the development consortium for the warplane.

Israel was the first country outside the United States to acquire the F-35.

Hailed as a "game-changer" and a "serious upgrade" by Israeli military experts with a $100 million per plane price-tag, Israel first received the F-35 fighter jet from the United States back in December 2016 and a year later they became operational.

According to US defence contractor Lockheed Martin, over 280 F-35 aircraft have been delivered and are operating from 15 bases around the globe with over 130,000 cumulative flight hours.

Twenty three fighters, including five Syrian regime troops and 18 other allied forces were said to have been killed in the Israeli attack.

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