Browsing: F-35

  The Air Force’s main F-35 pilot training base this month activated another squadron of the next-generation stealth aircraft. The 62nd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, stood up earlier this month during an assumption of command ceremony on June 5. Lt. Col. Gregory Frana, previously the F-35A director of operations for the 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke, will command the new unit. The squadron will begin receiving jets next month, and will train alongside pilots from Norway and Italy. “We will focus our efforts on what we’ve been doing for three generations – training and delivering combat…

Air Education and Training Command today released a full investigation into last year’s F-35 mishap that caused one of the jets, tail number 10-5015, to be almost completely destroyed by fire during takeoff at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The investigation board found that part of an engine rotor broke free during takeoff, cutting through the fan’s case, engine bay, internal fuel tank and hydraulic fluid lines. The fuel and hydraulic fluid ignited, causing a fire that burned the rear two-thirds of the aircraft. The pilot was able to abort the language and exit the aircraft, and emergency responders extinguished the…

Ten F-35s flew from their training site at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for two weeks this month in the first test of how the jets, pilots and maintainers could move and operate from a new base. This first training “deployment”  tested half of Luke’s fleet at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, from April 4-18. “Operating away from Luke has been a huge success for the wing, Team Nellis and the F-35 program in general,” Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, the commander of the 56th Figher Wing, in a news release. “We are learning lessons that will be hugely important for our pilots…

The first operational training base for the F-35A this week hit a new milestone: 1,000 flights. Maj. Joshua Arki, 61st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot, on Tuesday flew the 1,000th sortie at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. It is now the fastest wing to reach 1,000 sorties in the F-35, according to the Air Force. The flight occurred about one month before the first official class of student pilots is set to get started at the training center on base. The milestone was the second in a week at the base. Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing, flew…

The first general officer has completed qualification training in the F-35A. Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, commander of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, completed the training on Sept. 26 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Silveria topped off the seven-week training regimen with five hours of flying in two back-to-back sorties along with a hot pit refuel. “The Warfare Center is so involved with the development and future of this aircraft that it was important for me to see and experience this new program at the lowest tactical level and bring that knowledge base back to the higher level strategic…

The group of pilots training in the F-35 has reached 100. Maj. Robert Miller, who is assigned to the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., took his first flight in the jet on July 9. Miller is going through the Integrated Training Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. “It was great to get airborne today. The jet handles well and is very easy to fly. I’m looking forward to testing the combat capabilities of the F-35 over the next few years at Edwards,” Miller said in a Lockheed Martin release. The announcement is the…

Lockheed Martin passed along this photo today of the F-35A completing the first in-flight missile launch earlier this week. The F-35A AF-1 launched an AIM-120 AMRAAM during a flight over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range off the coast of California. The missile was launched from an internal weapons bay. The test the first of several targeted launches scheduled this year as the Joint Strike Fighter prepares for its Block 2B software capability. The Air Force announced last week that it is looking for initial operating capability on the Block 2B software in December 2016.

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., this week posted this picture of the first F-35A four ship formation flying Jan. 31 over the Gulf of Mexico. Pilots and maintainers flew two formations in one day, one in the morning and ground crews turning the four around for another flight in the afternoon, according to a base release. During the training, pilots tracked F-16 “adversaries” during the flight.

It’s bombs away for the Joint Strike Fighter. This week,the F-35A completed the first in-flight weapons release of a hulking 2,000-pound GBU-31 BLU-109 JDAM from a fifth generation fighter, according to Lockheed Martin. Air Force Maj. Eric “Doc” Schultz flew the mission from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and jettisoned the bomb at the China Lake test range. It’s another in a line of firsts for the delayed F-35 program. With the first F-35B arriving at Patuxent River, Md., first refueling of the F-35B, first Air Force maintainer engine runs and even the announcement of its big screen debut.

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