Lockheed delivers first F-35 for training
July 19, 2011, Valparaiso, Fla. - The first Lockheed Martin production model F-35 Lightning II to be assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing arrived at Eglin AFB on Monday, after its more than 90-minute ferry flight from Fort Worth, Texas.
The aircraft, known as 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 Integrated Training Center this fall.
AF-9 is a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) version of the 5th generation stealth fighter Overall, the jet is the third production-model F-35 delivered to the U.S. Air Force, with the first two assigned to Edwards AFB, Calif.
“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 5th 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 delivered from Low Rate Initial Production lot two and the seventh F-35 delivered in program history to the Air Force. Over the lifetime of the program, a total of 59 F-35s will compose the fighter fleet at Eglin AFB.
The F-35A CTOL variant – designed to meet U.S. Air Force requirements – is also the primary export version of the Lightning II. The air forces of Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway and Israel will employ the F-35A. To date, the F-35 program has accomplished more than 925 flights since late 2006.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.