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​The structure of the first F-35A for Israel was joined Jan. 7, according to a release. The four major components of the aircraft were put together at the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, an event marked by a commemoration ceremony. Israel has signed on for 33 F-35A aircraft, and the first plane is expected to be delivered to the Israeli Air Force later this year. “These fifth-generation aircraft will greatly enhance the IAF’s ability to defend the state of Israel from the serious threats we face,” said Aharon Marmarosh, director of the Israel Ministry of Defense Mission in New York. Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program manager, said the commemoration marked “a new beginning for tactical aviation for Israel.” Israel also is contributing to the F-35 program in other ways: Israel Aerospace Industries is producing F-35A wings, Elbit Systems Ltd. is working on the Generation III helmet-mounted display system for all F-35 pilots fleet wide, and Elbit Systems-Cyclone is producing F-35 center fuselage composite components, according to the release. (See also: F-35 Hits its 2015 Delivery Numbers.)