Thank you, Colonel Sigler, and good afternoon, everyone.
What a beautiful ceremony!
The delivery of Israel’s first F-35A “Adir” Joint Strike Fighters at Nevatim Air Force Base is a truly historic moment. It is a profound honor to share it with such warm hosts and such distinguished guests.
As all of you know, the ceremony we just witnessed was many years in the making. It is the result of decades of strong and long-standing friendship between the people of Israel and the United States. It represents the extraordinary collaboration between Lockheed Martin and our partners in industry, many of whom are here in Israel.
And, above all, the delivery of the first F-35As to Israel is about a shared commitment to use technological innovation and technological leadership to protect peace and progress for all peoples.
On behalf of Lockheed Martin, I thank the leaders of the Israeli government, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], and, ultimately, the citizens of Israel for placing their trust in the F-35.
We believe that today means more than just the delivery of the first 5th-generation fighter aircraft to Israel. We believe that the arrival of the F-35 “Adir” will provide a qualitative advantage against the multitude of 21st century threats.
The promise of this moment is built on the track record of our past together.
Israel and Lockheed Martin share a deep respect for the value of a modern air force. That is what brought us together nearly 70 years ago when Lockheed Constellation transport aircraft were used during Israel’s war for independence. It is why we cherish our status as a trusted partner of the Israeli Air Force, today.
Over time, our partnership has had many milestones. Over a decade ago, it was the F-16I “Sufa.” Together, we worked to improve the F-16 making it an unrivaled technology flying over the skies of Israel.
Just over two years ago, I stood here to celebrate the delivery of Israel’s first C-130J “Shimshon.”
And, with the F-35 “Adir,” we will continue to work together to ensure it is a symbol of strength and unparalleled innovation for decades to come.
Of course, none of these achievements or milestones would have been possible without the trust and friendship between presidents and prime ministers, leaders of industry and government, pilots and engineers.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting a small token of our respect to General Eshel. We presented a crystal model of the F-35 to commemorate his unwavering support of the F-35 program and his steadfast leadership which helped make this day come to fruition.
General, we thank you for your vision and for your service to your nation. As we consider the threats and challenges in the years ahead, rest assured we at Lockheed Martin will continue to work to preserve and strengthen Israel’s military edge.
Thank you, again, for the invitation to be part of this ceremony.
And, most of all, thank you for the opportunity to work together to protect the people and the bright future of Israel.
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