Israeli air force chief takes heat for revealing F-35 photo

Israeli soldiers walk by Merkava Mark IV tanks during a military drill in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights

Air force chief Amikam Norkin, who presented it at an global conference of air force commanders in Israel this week, noted that Israel's F-35 squadron had become operational, with Israel the first country to attack with this model.

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.

Norkin made the comments while showing a picture of an Israeli F-35 Adir flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut during the daytime.

"We are flying the F-35 all over the Middle East". Alternately, the F-35 could have used its advanced sensors to identify targets on the ground for other warplanes to attack, then coordinated the entire attack via airplane's C4I system. Hamas does not have radar, but F-35s were used on this relatively simple mission as part of the process through which its proves it various 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.

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The image seems to prove the F-35 have flown at high-altitude off Beirut (someone says it might have been in worldwide airspace, 12 Nautical Miles from the coast, when the shot was taken, but this can't be verified based on the screenshot only). So far, Israel has received nine of the 50 F-35's ordered, all model A (conventional take-off and landing), and it is likely to purchase 75.

General Norkin's announcement was therefore particularly appreciated by Lockheed Martin's Chief Executive Officer, Marillyn Hewson, one of the speakers at the conference on "aerial superiority".

The air force chief made his remarks to dozens of commanders or deputy commanders of air forces from around the world visiting Israel as part of a three-day conference in honor of the IAF's 70th anniversary.

Iranian Quds forces fired 32 - not 20 - rockets at Israel, he said, and Syrian aerial defense systems launched more than 100 surface-to-air missiles at IAF squadrons retaliating for the rocket barrages. Israeli pilots successfully destroyed not less than four Syrian anti-aircraft systems. Two jets had been delivered in mid-2016.

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