Defense Secretary Ash Carter will make a a stop in Israel early next week as the country takes delivery of its first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
The event will make an important waypoint in the Joint Strike Fighter program, as Israel was the first country to sign on to buy the F-35 through the U.S. government’s foreign military sales process, according to Lockheed Martin. The Israeli government reportedly plans to buy more than 100 of the aircraft for the Israeli Air Force to replace its fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons.
The country has given the jet the Hebrew name Adir, which means “noble,” “strong” or “mighty,” according to various translations.
During Carter’s visit to Israel, he will meet with meet with Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman and participate in a formal welcome ceremony for the F-35, according to officials with the office of the secretary of defense. Following the ceremony, the two leaders will hold a joint press conference.
“The future is here,” Israeli Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Tal Kalman said, according to a Jerusalem Post report. “The F-35 will allow the air force to do missions that its current aircraft are unable to do today. In quantity and quality, depth into enemy territory, in threat-filled areas, in the amount of missions, with less manpower in comparison with today.”