The US Air Force's (USAF) 53rd Wing has commissioned the F-35 Partner Support Complex (PSC) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
The F-35 PSC will be responsible for providing mission data, intelligence support, lab facilities and training to the eight partner countries purchasing the fifth-generation aircraft, F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter.
The complex will interact with mission data programmers and data analysts from partner nations.
The partner countries, which include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK and Turkey, have provided critical design input and funding during the early stages of the F-35 programme.
PSC director Robert Kraus said: "The PSC will directly support the partners, who currently have no indigenous capability to create mission data for the F-35."
The complex will include two separate buildings, including the Australia / Canada / UK reprogramming laboratory building and the Norway / Italy reprogramming laboratory building. It has been planned that they will hold the new unit and partner nation personnel.
Additional support will be provided to Denmark, the Netherlands and Turkey.
The F-35 PSC started as a small team including 24 civilian employees and contractors, with plans to grow to more than 100 personnel.
The new unit will report to the 53rd Electronic Warfare Squadron.
The F-35 Lightning II stealth multirole fighter has been designed for many missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and electronic attack missions.
Three variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the USAF, the F/A-18 for the US Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries.
Image: Robert Kraus, the new F-35 Partner Support Complex director unfurling the unit guidon. Photo: courtesy of USAF.