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Lockheed Martin has delivered simulators to train US Air Force pilots for operations on F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.

Pilots from the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base are practicing on the full-mission simulators to familiarise themselves with the F-35 5th generation joint strike fighter.

The 34th Fighter is the first operational F-35A squadron and is expected to reach combat readiness in August 2016.

34th Fighter Squadron Commander Lt Col George Watkins said: "The F-35 is going to be an incredible advancement in our capability as an air force, and the full-mission simulators present an environment to adequately challenge our pilots as they prepare for combat."

"The full-mission simulators present an environment to adequately challenge our pilots as they prepare for combat."

The US Marine Corps is the first to declare combat-ready initial operational capability (IOC) this year. The US Air Force and Navy are expected to service IOC in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

By next August, more than 190 F-35 pilots and 1,000 maintenance personnel will be mission-ready.

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According to Lockheed Martin, the Full Mission Simulators present a secure and realistic environment for pilots to develop tactics and integrate the F-35 into the air force’s arsenal.

Lockheed Martin F-35 sustainment support vice-president Mary Ann Horter said: "All the pieces of the technology puzzle are coming together to support the Air Force’s F-35 mission readiness.

"Airmen at Hill Air Force Base are launching the future of aviation, and our focus is supporting them with the most effective training and logistics technologies."

The F-35 multirole fighter combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility. It comes with fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.

With capabilities to securely share information with allied commanders at sea, in the air or on the ground, the F-35 will enable pilots to be six to eight times more effective in air-to-air missions, air-to-ground missions and surveillance missions, the company claims.

Image: The Full Mission Simulator for F-35 Lightning II. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.