Lockheed Martin has delivered two F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF)conventional takeoff and landing variants, known as AF-77 and AF-78, to the US Air Force’s (USAF) 388th Fighter Wing.
The new F-35A Lightning IIs are the first of 72 F-35As scheduled for delivery to the Hill Air Force Base (AFB), Utah.
388th Fighter Wing commander colonel David Lyons said: "The F-35A Lightning II represents the future of tactical aviation for the United States and our allies.
"Alongside our 419th Fighter Wing counterparts, we’re excited to usher in a new era of combat capability for the Air Force."
Hill AFB is the fifth USAF base to receive the F-35 Lightning II.
The base will receive additional F-35As, pilots and maintenance personnel during the next several months in order to meet requirements to declare initial operational capability next year.
The F-35 JSF is a fifth-generation multi-role jet designed to conduct ground attacks, reconnaissance and air defence missions with stealth capability.
Lockheed Martin F-35 programme general manager Lorraine Martin said: "The F-35A Lightning II provides the USAF and international partners a decisive edge over its adversaries.
"The exceptional capabilities of this 5th generation stealth fighter are now in the hands of the Hill team and we couldn’t be prouder of our warfighters at the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings."
The F-35’s three variants will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the US Air Force, the F/A-18 for the US Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps.
Moreover, the aircraft will replace several fighters for at least nine other countries.
Image: Hill AFB receiving the first two F-35As, known as AF-77 and AF-78. Photo: courtesy of Hill AFB Public Affairs/PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.