Last weekend, the Israeli Air Force received two more F-35I stealth fighter jets bringing the force’s total inventory of fifth-generation warplanes up to 14. The two new jets landed at the Nevatim base, southeast of Beersheba, where they joined the Golden Eagle Squadron.
Israel is the only state in the Middle East, which opreates F-35I jets and among a very few, which decalred them combat ready.
Earlier in 2018, the Israeli Air Force even claimed that it had used F-35I fighter jets in combat, which it said made it the first air force in the world to do so.
“The Israeli Air Force has twice carried out strikes with the F-35, on two different fronts,” Air Force commander Amikam Norkin told a conference of air force chiefs visiting Israel from around the world on May 22. “I think that we are the first to attack with an F-35 in the Middle East — I’m not sure about other areas.”
However, Israel has never provided any evidence that the F-35I jets were in fact employed. Considering the recent Israeli claims about some mysterious Israeli strikes on Syria [which in fact did not take place] after the delivery of S-300 systems there, Norkin’s statement about the F-35I combat usage is also under question.