F-35 aircraft

A US Air Force (USAF) F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) has successfully carried out the first local training flight over the Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona, US.

Tail numbered LF 5031, the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant is currently the only F-35 at the air base, and is expected to be joined by additional fifth-generation fighters in the next few weeks.

61st Fighter Squadron (61st FS) commander lieutenant colonel Michael Ebner said the first training sortie represents a significant milestone in Luke AFB’s F-35 programme.

"The ability to conduct local flight operations demonstrates the commitment by thousands of individuals who have worked to make this a reality," Ebner said.

With currently six pilots, the 61st FS works with the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit (61st AMU), which maintains the F-35 fighters, to fly the aircraft approximately one to two times each day.

"The number is likely to increase to two to four sorties a day by next month, with the arrival of additional jets at the airbase."

The number is likely to increase to two to four sorties a day by next month, with the arrival of additional jets at the airbase, according to Ebner.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Meanwhile, the base is continuing preparation for the arrival of more F-35s, with the construction of the Academic Training Center, which will house classrooms and 12 F-35 simulators, and the combined Operations/AMU building for the second F-35 squadron.

In addition to this, planning is also underway for other projects, including the third Operations/AMU building, a maintainer training facility, and a four-bay F-35 hangar.

A total of 144 F-35s are expected to be assigned to Luke AFB for a total of six squadrons.

Manufactured by Lockheed Martin in three variants, the F-35 JSF is a fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft designed to conduct an array of ground attack, reconnaissance and air defence missions with stealth capability.

Image: An F-35 Lightning II JSF at Luke Air Force Base after one of its first sorties. Photo: courtesy of USAF Senior Airman Jason Colbert.

Defence Technology