The USAF has confirmed Nellis AFB in Las Vegas will be the home of its F-35 operational test and evaluation (OT) unit and will also receive a number of F-35As for the weapons school (WA) there.
Following the May release of an environmental impact statement (EIS) into basing the new jets at Nellis, the USAF’s deputy assistant secretary for installations Kathleen Ferguson confirmed the OT unit would receive 12 F-35As and the WA would take 24 jets. The new aircraft will be supported by 412 USAF personnel, and new facilities will also be built at Nellis.
Apart from the test fleet already located at Edwards AFB in California, the USAF took delivery of its first production F-35A at the JSF Integrated Training Center at Eglin AFB in Florida on July 14, and a second aircraft on July 20.
It is planned 59 JSFs of all three variants models will be based at the ITC at Eglin, while Luke AFB near Phoenix in Arizona will likely be the location for a second and larger ITC, and is the planned training location for Australia’s first cadre of F-35A crews and maintainers from 2014.