Israel says F-35 stealth fighter jets operational

F-35A Lighting II aircraft assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, fly in formation over the Utah Test and Training Range, March 30, 2017. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw

JERUSALEM: Israel’ military on Wednesday declared its newly acquired F-35 stealth fighters operational, making it the first country outside of the United States to put the ultra hi-tech jets into service.

The Israeli Air Force currently has nine jets out of the total of 50 it has agreed to buy.

The aim of the purchase is to allow Israel to maintain its military superiority in the turbulent Middle East, particularly regarding its arch-foe Iran and the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system…

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