The US Air Force (USAF) has taken delivery of its 100th F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, designated as AF-100.
The fifth generation fighter jet arrived at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona, which currently has a fleet comprising of more than 40 F-35s, including those of partner nations such as Australia and Norway.
56th Fighter Wing commander brigadier general Brook Leonard said: “This marks a milestone and shows the fact that the F-35 programme has continued to grow, progress and support initial operational capability.
“It is also a ‘scare factor’ for our enemies that we are able to produce such an incredible platform at such a high production rate and that it’s getting out in the field in larger and larger numbers.”
The base, which received its first F-35 in March 2014 and developed the training and tactics for the F-35 programme, recently activated its third F-35 unit, the 63rd Fighter Squadron.
F-35 Joint Programme executive officer lieutenant general Christopher Bogdan said: “Last year we began US Air Force and partner pilot training at Luke AFB in Arizona, where a blend of US and partner instructor pilots are helping to train US Air Force and other partner pilots.”
The single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft has been designed to perform ground attack and air defence missions.
The conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35 has been designed to replace the USAF's ageing fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II.
Image: The USAF's 100th F-35 Lightning II lands at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Staff Sgt. Marcy Copeland.