First operational strikes for F-35 by Israeli Air Force

The F-35, one of the three candidates for the replacement of the Belgian F-16s (along with the Rafale and the Eurofighter), made its baptism of fire, but not with the US Air Force: "We made the very first operational strike of the F-35," said General Major Amikam Norkin, Chief of the Israeli Air Force (IAF), whom he describes as a "pioneer" in this area.

First operational strikes for F 35 by Israeli Air Force2 Israeli Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35I "Adir" fighter-bombers performed the first operational strikes of this aircraft (Picture source: IAF/Zeenews)

According to General Norkin, there were two engagements of F-35I "Adir", the version improved by Israel, in the "Middle East", without more precision. Anybody would naturally thinking of Syria and Lebanon.

General Norkin gave the information to twenty or so commanders of foreign air forces. Gathered on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the IAF, they came from the United States, India, France, Germany, Canada, Vietnam... Belgium was represented by Major-General Frederik Vansina, Chief of the Air Staff (Air Component).

At this conference, Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, came to explain the merits of "fifth generation" aircraft, such as the F-35. The exchange of information with the Israeli military was of interest to the Belgian Air Force as Belgium (like the other NATO members) might one day face a threat from Russia's antiaircraft defense comparable to the one deployed in Syria. And as Lockheed Martin is pushing (very) hard on the purchase of its F-35 by Belgium, no doubt that the information received by General Vansina was particularly convincing!