The United States Air Force declares the F-35A stealth jet fighter “combat ready,” though it will not likely be deployed in battle in the near future.
A different version of the fifth generation aircraft — the F-35B — was declared operational by the US Marine Corps one year ago, but limitations on the state-of-the-art fighter jet keep it from being put into full use.
“I am proud to announce this powerful new weapons system has achieved initial combat capability,” Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of US Air Combat Command, says.
“The F-35A will be the most dominant aircraft in our inventory because it can go where our legacy aircraft cannot and provide the capabilities our commanders need on the modern battlefield,” Carlisle says.
Earlier this week, the F-35 also conducted its first “kill” test, firing an AIM-9X air-to-air missile at an unmanned drone, destroying it.
Israel is set to receive Lockheed Martin’s F-35 later this year, which will make it the first country besides the US to do so.
Israel’s F-35 took its maiden voyage last week, flying for some 20 minutes to check that all the aircraft’s systems worked correctly, which they did, Lockheed Martin says.
— Judah Ari Gross
The Times of Israel