‘F-35 will take our capabilities above and beyond’

Israeli Air Force’s Golden Eagle squadron has been preparing for the advanced stealth fighter jet’s arrival for over a year • “The F-35 has incredible capabilities, but here too, the pilot in the cockpit is the one who triumphs,” squadron commander says.

By Lt. Col. Yotam, commander of the IAF’s Golden Eagle squadron

Two F-35 Adir fighter jets will land at Nevatim Airbase on Monday, bringing to a close more than a year and a half of preparations and an even longer process involving multiple departments and organizations in Israel’s defense establishment.

As soon as I accepted to the role of squadron commander, I was tasked with making the most important decisions, such as who would be joining me on this fascinating journey of acquiring Israel’s new fighter jets. We will make the rest of the decisions together, and they will be influenced by the quality of the people, their diversity, and their vision.

I decided to view the formation of the squadron as if I was forming a family, because we get to choose our family, which is a big advantage. The relationship between the people in the squadron is very important, and it has a huge impact on the final results. Throughout the process, we were with our families in the U.S. The disconnect from home and the intimate atmosphere led us to truly form one big family; it was an experience we will never forget.

The F-35 Adir jet has incredible, almost unreal capabilities. But here too, the pilot in the cockpit is the one who triumphs, along with the technician who gets the planes ready for flight, personnel management, instructors and the simulator. The technology does not fight on its own; it is just a more advanced and sophisticated tool.

Excitement is sky high ahead of the big day next week, as if we are preparing to celebrate a real holiday; everyone is excited because something fresh is in the air. Now, with preparations all but complete, the moment has arrived, but we are doing one final run to make sure all the systems are go — the very systems that will be used by the plane once it arrives.

We are also putting the final touches on the arrival ceremony and getting ready, with a twinkle in our eyes, for the first time we will fly the plane in Israeli airspace. Once the plane lands, our journey begins. We face a complex task: to take this plane and fully tap its operational potential in the Israeli Air Force. I am confident that we are up to the task.

Every new aircraft that joins the Israeli Air Force undergoes comprehensive tests upon its arrival, and only after this lengthy process is complete do we test its limits and extract the most from it, perhaps even beyond what the manufacturers had in mind.

I am sure that several years down the road, we will look back and say we took the F-35 to a whole new level by enhancing its capabilities. It is a great honor to be among the founders of this new squadron. I also helped form two other squadrons, but this time it feels different because the weight on my shoulders is much heavier.

But of course, I feel very privileged to have gotten this unique opportunity. My squadron is writing another chapter in the Israeli Air Force’s history, day by day. This may be an important point in the history of the F-35 in the Israeli Air Force, but it is just the beginning of this chapter.

Lt. Col. Yotam is the commander of the Golden Eagle F-35 squadron. He was also involved in integrating the Israeli Air Force’s F-16I aircraft into the Israeli Air Force.

December 9, 2016 | 5 Comments »

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  1. yamit82 Said:

    easy for you to say U ain’t got no skin in the game

    That’s why it’s important for me and for us to be uncritically supportive. The only impact we can have on such scientific questions in this or any other public forum is on morale. They’re not stupid, you know. But they have to live with it now that it’s a done deal. They will deal with it one way or another. Sometimes even the appearance of strength helps deter enemies. Hitler fooled Lindbergh who fooled the world into appeasement by showing him a fake airforce. Stalin did the same thing later on. “War is deception”, as Sun Tzu wrote. Hey, for all we know, all the articles about what a dud it is are fake, intended to lull the enemy into a false sense of security. I don’t have a top secret clearance. Do you? If you do, would you TELL US ANYTHING? Or your girlfriend? Or your unsecured email server? I sure hope not. “Loose lips sink ships.”

  2. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    Incidentally, guys, you’ve been posting comments to the wrong article.

    Just noticed but the stuff I posted is still operable.

    The F35 is gonna be great! You’ll see. I’m uncrossing my fingers. See!]

    easy for you to say U ain’t got no skin in the game

  3. Watch: F-35 fighter jets finally arrive
    Israel receives the F-35 stealth fighter jet, the most advanced military aircraft in the world. The aircraft features Israeli technology!


    Well, it’s a done deal and it’s arrived so since nothing can be done about it, and morale being the most important factor in war — look at what planes they made do with during the War of Independence in 1948 — I am now going to hope for the best and be a cheerleader. Being an ex-Stalinist* has its perks, you can turn around on a tack with out so much as a bye your leave. Yay, F35. Go, Jets!

    [*Or an ex-Presidential candidate. You truly gotta marvel at how smoothly they go from being at each other’s throats to life-long buddies and back again at their convenience. It was either Ryan or his interviewer who said concerning life in Washington, in a recent interview, “You want a friend? Get a dog.” [with the other one laughing knowingly] Well, maybe not Romney. The most devastating thing I heard about Romney (over and over) when he ran was that he drove cross-country with his dog on the roof of his car. Which is pretty awful. But that doesn’t determine my vote. I’m glad I voted for him then considering the alternative. Same goes for Palin, even though she hunts deer for sport. I would arm the deer, or provide birth control for them. “Where we going?” “We’re going to Planned Parenthood, deer.”]

    Incidentally, guys, you’ve been posting comments to the wrong article. Unless there’s some connection between the two state final solution and the F35 of which ah is unaware. (Could be an unconconscious Freudian slip connecting two things that can’t be made to work? Naaah. The F35 is gonna be great! You’ll see. I’m uncrossing my fingers. See!]

  4. Aaah, I see it’s been sighted at last. “Boss, it’s da plane, da plane”.:

    Fantasy Island TV Show Opening Theme Season One 1978


    “When guests are paying $50,000 a day to stay on Fantasy Island, they are entitled to miracles!” – Ricardo Montalban

    Is it the “F” 35 because that’s what the pilots will soon be calling it?