(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Development of the advanced F-35 fighter jet is moving along as expected and Israel “has our commitment” that the first F-35s it ordered will arrive this December, Lockheed Martin Vice President Gen. (ret.) Gary North said Sunday at a Tel Aviv national security conference organized by the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies and Israel Defense.
North was responding to reports that development of the F-35 was hitting snags.
“The plane is still in the experimental state in the U.S.,” North said. “More than 170 planes are distributed among 10 bases. Lockheed Martin has accompanied the Israeli Air Force since the foundation of the state. The F-35 will be integrated into the air force’s operational parameters, which will redefine the battlefield. Your neighborhood is not easy, and it will get tougher as the years go by. In light of that, strength leads to calm. When you’re strong, you send a clear message to your enemies.”
Israeli Air Force Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Tal Kalman also addressed the reports, saying, “I’m reading things that have little to do with reality. I hear remarks about delays and problems with creating operational capability. The plane is already operational with the Marines and next year it will be operational in the U.S. Air Force.”