The first Lockheed Martin F-35A to be assigned to the USAF’s 33rd Fighter Wing arrived at the F-35 Integrated Training Center (ITC) Eglin AFB in Florida on July 14 to commence aircrew and maintainer training for all three US services.
The aircraft, AF-9, will be used for activities in concert with training F-35 pilots and maintainers who begin coursework at the base’s new F-35 ITC in the next few months.
“We’re incredibly proud of our government/industry team whose steadfast dedication to this program led to the successful delivery of AF-9 today,” said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. “The exceptional capabilities of this fifth generation fighter are now in the very capable hands of the men and women of the 33rd Fighter Wing who are ushering in a new era of F-35 training. We look forward to delivering our full complement of F-35s to the Emerald Coast in the months and years ahead.”
AF-9 is the first aircraft to be delivered from the second Low Rate Initial Production batch (LRIP2). Seven other F-35As have been delivered to the USAF and are currently performing flight test duties at Edwards AFB in California.
Meanwhile, the fifth F-35B STOVL flight test aircraft delivered to the Marine Corps arrived at NAS Patuxent River on July 16. BF-5 is the seventh F-35 to be delivered in 2011 and the third aircraft delivered to Pax River this year.