With an eye on Iran and other complex, heavily defended theaters, Israel is building up the infrastructure and indigenous capabilities needed to begin operating its first F-35 Adir (Awesome) stealth strike fighters by the end of 2017.

Its first pair of Adirs isn’t scheduled to arrive here until December 2016, when they join the Israel Air Force’s Golden Eagle squadron at Nevatim Air Base in the Negev desert.

But between now and late 2017, with expected declaration of initial operational capability (IOC), work is progressing on parallel tracks, one within the overall multinational program and the other at the bilateral level, where Israel is counting on continued US government support for integrating weaponry and other program elements. […]