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Lockheed Martin's F-35A has been used in combat for the first time during an Israeli operation in the Middle East.

The announcement was made on Twitter by a spokesperson quoting Israeli Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, who was speaking to a conference involving the chiefs of 20 foreign air forces.

“The Iranians fired 32 rockets, we intercepted four of them and the rest fell outside Israeli territory. In our response attack, more than 100 ground to air missiles were fired at our planes,” Ma. Gen. Norkin said.

“The Adir planes are already operational and flying in operational missions. We are the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity,” he added.

The F-35 is referred to as 'Adir' in Israel, meaning 'mighty'.

Israel has stepped up military operations in Syria in recent weeks in response to the percieved entrenchment of Iranian forces across the country. It has targeted Iranian positions following rocket strikes against Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights.

Whilst this is the first publically acknowledged operation involving Israeli F-35s, reports indicate it may have been used as far back as January 2017.

Israel is set to procur 50 F-35s and may order 25 more, with nine delivered to date.

Australia is set to receive its first F-35s at RAAF Williamtown later this year. The planes are currently deployed to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona for pilot training.

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