The first two Israeli F-35s landed inside that country on Monday, welcomed by an entourage of both Israeli officials and US Defense Secretary Ash Carter. The two jets, the first of 50 planned to be purchased by Israel, “present another component in maintaining air superiority in our region,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, according to The Associated Press. Carter, speaking at the unveiling event, said the F-35s would help Israel and the US operate closer together. “Together, we will dominate the skies,” he said. The jets left Lockheed Martin in Texas last week, and are flown by two American pilots en route to Nevatim Air Base, Lockheed Martin said in a news release. The event comes almost two weeks after Lockheed delivered the first Japanese F-35.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.