Eglin recieves another F-35, Panetta pays tribute to Marine air.

The US Air Force’s 33rd Wing stationed at Eglin AFB, Florida, received its 12th F-35 yesterday, 15 May. The aircraft was a US Marine Corps short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant jet assigned to VMFA-501.

USMC test pilot Lt Col Fred Schenk ferried the jet, BF-11, from Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility on a 90-minute flight.

F-35B local area flights should start at the base any day now; pilots have started taxiing the aircraft this Monday, 14 May.

Meanwhile, earlier today Air Force Chief Gen Norton Schwartz said that the F-35B can’t generate the sorties it needs to replace the A-10–the USAF will stick with a pure F-35A fleet. The USAF had considered adopting the F-35B to replace the A-10 at one time.

The Marines, of course, dispute Schwartz’s comments.

Schwartz also doesn’t think unmanned aircraft will replace manned fighters anytime soon.

Read the article here.

BF-11 Ferry Flight2.jpgLater in the evening, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta paid tribute to Marine Corps aviation during a ceremony at the Marine Corps War Memorial–sometimes referred to as the Iwo Jima Memorial. He strongly endorsed the USMC’s need for a fifth-generation fighter in the form of the F-35B and also the MV-22.

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