Two IDF F-35i “Adir” fighter jets escorted two American B-52 bombers assigned to CENTCOM through Israel’s skies their way back from the Persian Gulf, in an apparent show of force to Iran on Thursday.
The flight took place as part of the increasing cooperation with the U.S. Armed Forces.
This is the first flight of its kind to be accompanied by a pair of F-35i “Adir” planes, and is part of a series of joint exercises and training programs conducted to improve the IDF’s operational capabilities and strengthen its readiness toward all scenarios.
In the past, F-16 or F-15 jets would escort the bombers. This flight marked the first time F-35 jets performed the task, according to the IDF.
In footage shared by the IDF, Israeli ground control officials can be heard welcoming the American pilots to Israel, and wishing them a “safe flight.”