The first two of Israel's Lockheed Martin F-35I "Adir" fighters are scheduled to land in the nation on 12 December, with another six to be delivered in 2017.
Immediately following their arrival, the lead aircraft will have unique systems installed that have been developed to meet the Israeli air force's operational requirements for the stealthy type. Further details of the enhancements have not been disclosed.
Israel has committed to 33 conventional take-off and landing F-35s and intends to increase the number as part of an effort to increase the level of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) made available to it by the USA. Further examples would enable it to fully populate two frontline squadrons with the Adir, and sources suggest an increase will occur regardless of the result of ongoing bilateral negotiations linked to FMF provisioning for the next 10 years.
As part of its acquisition, the Israeli air force will establish facilities to enable it to perform all maintenance on its bases. The service's 22 maintenance unit is already making preparations with dedicated centres, including one related to supporting the use of composite materials.