Minister Says US May Soon Recognize Israel's Hold on Golan

Reuters Военный кабинет Израиля проводит заседания в подземном бункере

And, when it comes to state-of-the-art fighter jets, this is now officially the case: an Israeli military official said Israel was the first regime in the world to have used the US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets in attack mode, claiming that the fighter jets have been twice used in the Middle East.

Israeli F-35 fighter flies during an aerial show at a graduation ceremony for soldiers who have completed the IAF Flight Course, at the Hatzerim Air Base in the Negev desert, December 27, 2017. Interestingly, Norkin also presented an image showing an IAF F-35I over Beirut, Lebanon that was not released in first place but surfaced on social media on May 23. Israel was the first country outside the United States to acquire the F-35. The jets are believed to be the conventional takeoff and landing F-35A.

Further complicating matters for the F-35 stateside were a series of troubling reports indicating that not only were almost half of all delivered F-35s considered non-operational, but the high cost of keeping the operational planes in the air may be forcing the Air Force to reduce their projected orders of the fighter by as much as a third.

Another senior IAF officer at the conference said that the decision to announce the F-35 Adir strikes was partly taken following an intelligence assessment.

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Israel has been the first to use the F-35 fighters in an actual war in the world, the commander of Israel's air force said in a tweet, according to as-Wasat website. It has become part of our operational capabilities. Currently, Lockheed and Air Force officials are amid discussion on how to reduce these operational costs, seeing as Lockheed Martin is also contracted to provide the vast majority of support for the platform, despite offering very little transparency on their justification for the exorbitant costs.

Israel's military industry also participates in the F-35 programme.

There is a running joke that while the USA is the world's biggest maker and exporter of weapons, no other country uses military equipment and weapons as much as Israel. To date about eight of the 50 aircraft, which will eventually make up two full squadrons, have been delivered, with the remainder expected by 2024. The Uragan's 16 launch tubes, recently scorched by rocket engines, would have glowed brightly on the F-35's sensors, allowing the pilot to identify the threatening vehicle and pass on targeting data to other Israeli aircraft.

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