First F-35A JSF Arrives at Eglin AFB

First F-35A Arrives at Eglin AFB
Going into what appears to so far be a mercifully cool (high-70s) Friday afternoon here in Washington, I had to point out this piece of historic news:

Just yesterday the Air Force received its first production model F-35 Lightinng II Joint Strike Fighter to fly in a non-testing role. This move marks the beginning of the large scale recapitalization of the United States’ tactical fighter fleet with stealth aircraft (if all goes according to plan, anyway).

(Technically the service has recieved two other production model F-35s, but they are being used in the JSF test program.)

Yes, the program is still not free of its fiscal issues and has its share of doubters, but still, the Pentagon is all in on the F-35.

Here are some exerpts from a Lockheed announcement on the first F-35 being delivered to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida:

The first Lockheed Martin production model F-35 Lightning II to be assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing arrived here today at 1:18 p.m. CDT after its more than 90-minute 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.

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.



  • Chops

    Fantastic-now let’s get the rest of the fleet up and see what these babies can do.I certainly hope they were worth the wait and cost but it’s a done deal so -hooray

    • Asian Immigrant

      I’d certainty like to see the F-35s up in the sky protecting America while proving their value!

  • Jason

    Congrats guys, only 2,400 to go! She is a beauty. Though, not as sexy as a F-22!

    • Chops

      Not as sexy or as capable [supposedly] as the F22-but the F22 looks like a done deal also—that is a crime.

      • Jason

        Do you think Panetta is Gates 2.0, or do you think he will make top-line decisions? Referring to the F-22 getting started back up, or are they just going to replace 90% of the planes with 35’s? Personally, I think it was a wise choice to go with the 35 plan. Especially with the current economic times. Though, even when the economy turns around, it seems like UCAV’s will join the 35’s in future combat senaros. i.e. X-47. And F-35/X-47 would be a sweet combo for the USN.

        • ew-3

          Panetta is one of the ultimate political survivor types of the past few decades. Under the current administration, he’ll do what the boss says, and if there is a new administration in the next election, he’ll do what the boss says.

          Having said all this bad stuff about him, I have to say that he has exceeded my expectations at the CIA. He actually seems to have had some chops there.

          • Chops

            Watch your grammar—haha

  • ziv

    This is off-topic, but would it be worthwhile to assign 2 F35’s, (or better yet, 2 F22’s had we built enough), to an F15E wing, or a F16 wing? Can you imagine what the wing commanders could do to protect his squadrons or to make a strike more effective if he had a pair of stealth lead aircraft to send info back to the strike element itself without the opposition knowing about it, or if they had a couple stealth aircraft to cover their egress? It seems like the combination of AWACs in the rear and an F35 in front would let a strike squadron really add to their bag of tricks. Obviously, a strike squadron of F35’s would be better when we get them, but until then, it seems like an element of F35’s would be useful for an F15E wing, and a couple F22’s would be even better.

    • ew-3

      Your idea is fine, and I’d be surprised it is not already in the USAF’s play book.
      It offers a more complicated problem for our enemies.

    • blight

      Very much a datalink question if you want to pass lots of information to and from stealth aircraft and legacy aircraft.

      If we wanted to emphasize a small aircraft’s avionics capability to act as a aerial pathfinder, might it be a better idea to have a two-seater?

  • Chops

    While having the F35 or F22 escort and provide cover for the F16s and F15Es is a good idea-both of those planes have a substantial anti missile defense capability and a great air to air combat capability-it might be putting the top line, hard to come by, very expensive aircraft in jeopardy for no reason.

  • Tim

    Is it just me or this “production” version of the F-35 looks pretty sharp -strangely beautiful at this angle- for some reasons?

  • @E_L_P

    “Just yesterday the Air Force received its first production model F-35 Lightinng II Joint Strike Fighter to fly in a non-testing role. ”

    Poor choice of words. These very aircraft will be used in a “testing” role. Not one weapon drop has been cleared, the full flight envelop has not been done, there will still be mountains of software to get qualified, and retesting with each software mod or break-fix discovery.

    Try not to over hype the event. Plus what is being delivered, will not be able to stand up to emerging threats and is too expensive to use for existing threats.

    • saberhagen

      why its ok for you guys to hype the ‘problem’ of the program but we cannot do the same for the ‘non-problem’ event? Anyway, its way so much fun to see those F-35-haters like you guys get tinier and tinier

    • Guest A

      “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.”

      LRIP planes are for training, EMD planes are for testing.

  • John Moore

    What are the white things in the back ground of the pix please and tx?

    • Guest A

      That’s where they park the planes on the flightline.

  • nonito cabato

    idiocy, u.s politician are nuts imagine they use the money to buy fighter for Israel but cannot afford to buy fighter for its air force & they want scrap the F-35 & F-22! STUPID IDIOT NUTS SHITS

  • Michael Arnold

    Yes the f35 is a beastly model, with simular technology as the f22 raptor. She will do well in the field

  • MarineOne

    We all know they way the goverment works is “it’s not broke but we’re going to try and fix it anyways.” Although we all know the 35 is gonna be better than the 22 anyways.

  • black avenger

    If the F35 is not as fast as the 22, nor as stealthy, nor as agile, nor as pilot friendly, has bad cockpit visibility (view) of the outside, is single engined (no redundancy) and has no record of doing anything except fizzling out in tests and only be made in small numbers, then why are we building this freaky thing anyways? Maybe we need more P51’s for support. Sheesh, why dont we just surrender to the moslems and commies and dissolve the nation like our president wants us to do. Then we will be 3rd world socialist sewer.

  • Skysoldier173

    The model here is the Air Force one? Wow, how fast can they build them?