The Israeli Air Force on Sunday received three additional F-35 stealth fighter jets from their American manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Their addition brings the total number of fifth-generation jets in Israel’s possession to 36. Israel is set to fly three squadrons of the F-35—or a total of 75— and could order a fourth squadron in the future.
The 36 aircraft in the IAF’s inventory include a specialized flight testing F-35 that operates out of the Flight Testing Center at Tel Nof airbase, south of Tel Aviv.
Israel first signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) agreement to purchase the aircraft in October 2010, becoming the first country in the world to select the F-35 as part of a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) with a United States administration.
The IAF declared its F-35 aircraft operational in December 2017, after completing an extensive training process, as well as absorbing the aircraft and needed personnel at Nevatim Air Force Base.
Since then, the jets have been in full operational service.
Worldwide, 860 F-35 aircraft have accumulated 590,000 flight hours, according to Lockheed Martin. The jets operate globally from 36 locations and aircraft carriers, and are owned by nine different countries.
In May 2018, former IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin reportedly showed an image of an Israeli F-35 over Beirut, Lebanon, during a conference held with visiting air force commanders and deputy commanders.