An F-35 carrier variant refuelled from a USAF KC-135 for the first time on August 20. With the completion of this test, the F-35C joins the A and B models in proving that all three variants of the F-35 can be refuelled from a common tanker platform, despite using different methods.
Earlier this month Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, the Navy’s first F-35C squadron, completed its first flight in the new aircraft at the squadron’s home at Eglin Air Force Base. The 1.3 hour flight followed the Fleet Replacement Squadron being granted interim “safe for flight” status. The step is a precursor to allowing the re-established Grim Reapers to begin training for the first flight instructor cadre that will teach future F-35C pilots “the intricacies of mastering the Navy’s first 5th generation fighter”. VFA 101 is the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training Navy aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C.