Lockheed Martin chairman, president, and CEO Marillyn Hewson heaped praise yesterday on the F-35 stealth combat aircraft that the Israel Air Force (IAF) is in the process of commissioning. Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Hewson said, "The F-35 is particularly critical to countering Hezbollah’s vast rocket threat through rapid identification and prioritization of targets for the IAF." Hewson cited the aircraft's ability to penetrate enemy airspace without detection and destroy ground-to-air threats, allowing other F-35s to follow up carrying large weapons payloads.
So far, the US defense giant has delivered fourteen of the 50 F-35 aircraft ordered by the Israel Air Force, with six more due for delivery this year. The IAF will eventually maintain two squadrons of F-35s, known as the Adir ("Mighty') in its Israeli version.
At a time when the IAF is deliberating over a decision that needs to be made shortly between an order for upgraded Boeing F-15s, capable of carrying a large payload, and a third squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35s, Hewson appeared at the Herzliya Conference organized by The Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and spoke of the strategic threats posed by modern warfare, particularly in Israel, and of the need for new battlefield technologies to counter these threats. "The ‘Mighty One’ gives senior government and military leaders a decisive strategic tool," she said, adding that the IAF was the first air force to deploy the F-35 operationally, and that it was at the forefront of development of maintenance processes, tactical applications, and operational techniques.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 2, 2019
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