The first two US high-tech F-35 stealth fighters of the 50 ordered by Israel landed Monday night at the Israeli Air Force base of Nevatim Monday night, six hours behind schedule. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the six-hour delay was caused by an altercation US and Israeli officials held with Rome. The Italians delayed the F-35s takeoff on the pretext of “heavy fog” tp show the Arab world that they were not involved in the handover of high-tech US planes to the Israeli air force.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and a large crowd of top Israeli government and military officials stood by for the ceremonial delivery of the first fifth-generation fighter jet to arrive in the Middle East and the IAF’s first stealth fighter.
The delay was accompanied by another embarrassment – this one for the manufacturers Lockheed Martin, when President-elect Donald Trump said on Twitter: "The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (ad other) purchases after January 20th."