The US Air Force has declared its 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB is now ‘ready for training’ on the F-35A Lightning II, following the successful completion of a 65 day operational utility evaluation (OUE) in November.
Air Education and Training Command (AETC) commander, Gen Edward Rice Jr said: “The preliminary results provided by the Joint Operational Test Team show the F-35A aircraft and its pilot training and sustainment systems, are robust enough to conduct the planned pilot transition and instructor upgrade courses.”
To this end, the AETC will commence syllabus training in order to meet Air Force-defined requirements from January 7, while a deliberate process will be used that continues to validate the training system’s effectiveness through advancing training blocks as they are made available by the military’s F-35 Program Office (JPO) and Lockheed Martin. The OUE comprised intensive classroom and simulator training along with six flights, for four primary and two backup upgrading student pilots, and was completed 19 days ahead of schedule.
In a brief statement, Lockheed Martin said it “congratulates the USAF…on their successful completion of the OUE. [The] declaration of “Ready for Training” begins a new chapter for the service and our international partners. We are extremely proud to be a member of the Integrated Training Center (ITC) team and we look forward to continued success supporting pilot and maintainer training in 2013 and beyond.”