The US Department of Defense has taken delivery of four F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from Lockheed Martin. Of the four, three are US Air Force F-35As, while the fourth is a US Marine Corps F-35B aircraft.
All four jets will be based at the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. That brings the total number of jets to 16. The developmental test community at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, and Edwards Air Force Base, California, have a total of 14 F-35s between them.
Lockheed says the deliveries mark a turning point in the programme.
"We've crossed a critical threshold as we begin delivering our LRIP [low rate initial production] 3 aircraft," says Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager, F-35 program. "We're increasingly becoming more operationally focused. These deliveries illustrate the program's natural progression and maturation that is taking place on a daily basis."
A total of nine F-35s have been delivered for the year, Lockheed says. That means the DOD has a total of 30 aircraft.