BY GORDON DICKSON, Star-telegraph
Lockheed Martin's F-35 aircraft has reached a new milestone. The stealth fighter jet built at Lockheed Martin's sprawling west Fort Worth campus has been flown for the first time in combat.
Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin disclosed this week that the planes were used in two recent missions. The disclosure was originally reported by the Jerusalem Post.
Norkin provided news outlets with a photo of an F-35 flying near Beirut. He didn't specify where the planes were used, or in what capacity.
Israel has conducted multiple operations in Syria this week.
"We are flying the F-35 all over the Middle East. It has become part of our operational capabilities," Norkin said in the Jerusalem Post report, from an Israeli Air Force conference in Herzliya. "We are the first to attack using the F-35 in the Middle East and have already attacked twice on different fronts."
An Israeli Defense Forces spokesman also wrote on Twitter: "The Adir planes are already operational and flying in operational missions. We are the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity."
Israel has ordered 50 F-35s. The country's version of the aircraft is known as "Adir," which is Hebrew for "mighty."
So how did the aircraft do in combat?
Popular Mechanics reported that it was unclear whether the F-35 actually fired on any targets, or perhaps provided more of a support role in the missions.
Business insider indicated that during Israel's missions over Syria and near Beirut the F-35s were flying with radar reflectors, but not in stealth mode.