Photo: AP
Lockheed Martin F-35
Photo: AP

F-35 simulator touches down in Israel

Israeli pilots to train on new Lockheed Martin simulator of next-generation stealth fighter ahead of its scheduled delivery in 2016.

The first simulator for the Israeli Air Force's most advanced jets – the F-35 – arrived in the Jewish State recently and was unveiled on Wednesday at an airbase in the Negev as part of the preparations for the advanced warplane's expected delivery in 20 months.



The simulator will integrate with the rest of the air force's preparations ahead of the establishment of the first squadron for the stealth fighter, codenamed Adir in Hebrew.


F-35 simulator (Photo: Roee Idan)
F-35 simulator (Photo: Roee Idan)

The squadron already included a Brigadier-General-level commander and five combat pilots who will receive specialized training in the US over the next year and will be expected to train the pilots of the first operational squadron, which will be composed of 19 pilots.


Unlike the traditional two-seat warplanes already in service, the Adir is a one-seater jet, meaning new pilots will not enjoy the luxury of flying with an instructor as a co-pilot.


The full-fledged simulators scheduled to arrive in the middle of 2016, made by Lockheed Martin, are intended to provide a "one-for-one" simulation of the real jet, down to the angular 3D screens that surround the cockpit.


F-35 simulator in Israel    (צילום: רועי עידן)

F-35 simulator in Israel


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Officials at the Lockheed Martin, one of the top American defense firms, said that 60 hours in the simulator would suffice to qualify a combat pilot for F-35 operations.


"The S-300 anti-aircraft system is exactly the type of threat the F-35 was designed to counter," said Steve Over, director for F-35 international business development, during a visit to the Israeli airbase. The American official was commenting on the stealth fighter's capabilities after reports surfaced that Iran would receive the advanced Russian system.


Over added that the "F-35 will fly in the face of threats without being identified by defensive systems, as it will carry its payload inside the airplane and not on the wings as in the F-15 and F-16 warplanes, decreasing the probably of being spotted."


Nevatim Airbase commander (Photo: Roee Idan)
Nevatim Airbase commander (Photo: Roee Idan)


The Lockheed officer boasted that "it has the most advanced radar and a system capable of 'blinding' the enemy's defensive capabilities. Additionally, the F-35 automatically identifies threats from hundreds of miles, giving the pilot the decision whether to evade or attack."


He stressed that the jet "has a surveillance system of enemy forces, which can identify a unit as small as a man, which works from an eight mile range."


Lockheed Martin officials also noted that the veteran pilots who flew both the warplane and the simulator testified that it was "friendly and as easy to use as an iPad. Everything is a button push. It's like how five years ago no one could have imagined we would have the internet and e-mail in our pocket."


Israeli pilot in simulator (Photo: Roee Idan)
Israeli pilot in simulator (Photo: Roee Idan)


The commander of Nevatim Airbase also commented on the threat posed by the S-300 missiles: "The F-35 brings the most advanced capabilities in the world to strengthen our response to the many regional challenges. The S-300 will present a challenge to the air force with its arrival on the scene, and we are preparing for a number of scenarios."


But he added that "if we are asked to provide an answer to such a challenge, we will."


US ambassador in simulator (Photo: US Embassy in Israel)
US ambassador in simulator (Photo: US Embassy in Israel)


Among the first to take a ride on the simulator was the US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro. At the end of his initial 'solo flight', Shapiro tweeted: "Flying the F-35 simulator at Nevatim AFB. An amazing aircraft. Will help maintain Israel's QME 4 the next generation."


According to the American ambassador, the warplane had offensive capabilities which cannot be matched by other jets and will help maintain Israel's air superiority for generations to come.


The first of the F-35 jets are expected to be delivered in December of 2016.


פרסום ראשון: 04.15.15, 23:48
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