The IDF announces that it is seeking the help of the public in finding – not a missing person, but a name for its newest plane.
The IDF has recently purchased 20 F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jets from United States manufacturer Lockheed-Martin. Though delivery to Israel of the world’s most advanced attack aircraft is expected to begin only in 2015, the IDF is already looking for a Hebrew name for it.
At first, Israel Air Force planes were named after birds of prey, such as Baz (falcon), Ayit (eagle), and Netz (Hawk). It later became fashionable to give names such as Sufah (storm), Barak (lightning), and Ra’am (thunder). The Hercules cargo plane took on the name of the legendary Greek’s real-life Jewish counterpart, Samson.
The F-35 – priced at half-a-billon dollars each – is expected to be the last aircraft to be piloted by human beings; unmanned drones are now taking over the field.
Negotiations for Israel’s purchase of the F-35 took several years, involving issues of Israel’s part in its manufacture, the integration of Israeli technologies, and price.
The F-35’s vital stats:
- Length – 15.4 meters
- Wingspan – 10.6 meters
- Height – 5.3 meters
- Weight – 12 tons
- Capacity – 14.8 tons
- Max. speed – Mach 1.8
- Range (not including external fuel tanks) – 1,667 kilometers
- Armed with automatic 25mm (one inch) artillery, four air-to-air rockets, and external additions
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