Use the force, Luke

The first F-35A Lightning II to be assigned to a training unit at the US Air Force’s Luke AFB in Arizona flew in earlier this month, accompanied by one of the types that it will replace; the F-16.

Luke pair

Flown from Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth site in Texas – and also the 100th F-35 to have been produced – aircraft 5030 is the first of an expected 144 Lightning IIs to be based at Luke, as part of the 56th Fighter Wing. The lead jet (shown in this USAF-provided image), which was formally received during a ceremony at the site on 14 March, is expected to be followed by around 15 more during this calendar year, the service says.

Once operational, the base’s F-35 fleet will be used to train pilots for the USAF and also for international customers for the Joint Strike Fighter.


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3 Responses to Use the force, Luke

  1. John 20 March, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    I know that F-35 has no traning aircraft like F-16. I mean ıt doesnt have 2 seats so it’s really hard to train new F-35 pilots i think.

  2. Craig Hoyle 20 March, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    As with other new-generation fighters, the F-35 is very easy to fly in basic terms, with the STOVL version in particular a world away from the complexity of the Harrier cockpit. Modern simulation means that we’re already seeing pilots going solo on the Typhoon in the UK in trials with zero prior flight time in the type; that shows that it shouldn’t be a problem for the JSF also.

  3. GTX 20 March, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    The lak of a two seat version is not seen as a major impediment for training. Moreover, if one casts their mind back this is not the first time this has been the case either. For example, F-86 Sabre or F-22 to name just a couple.

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