You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Luke to receive 72 more F-35s for training

Jun. 27, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Arizona's Luke Air Force Base will get three more squadrons of F-35As for training, the service announced Thursday. Pictured: An F-35A arrives at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in March.
Arizona's Luke Air Force Base will get three more squadrons of F-35As for training, the service announced Thursday. Pictured: An F-35A arrives at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in March. (Lockheed Martin)
  • Filed Under

Plans for all F-35A training are set with the Air Force announcing Thursday that three more squadrons will head to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

The 72 additional jets will bring the total number of F-35s there to 144. The base was already selected to for an F-35A training center last summer. The new announcement means that all F-35A pilots will train at either Luke or at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the location of the current schoolhouse for instructor pilots.

Luke’s selection continues its tradition of pilot training. It is currently the site of active duty F-16 pilot training, along with the training for Fighting Falcon pilots from partner countries. Foreign F-35A pilots will train at the base.

“The decision to base additional F-35 fighters here ensures the long-term viability of our mission and continues our legacy of training the world’s greatest fighter pilots,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 59th Fighter Wing commander, in a release.

F-35As should begin arriving in 2014, depending on production schedules, according to the Air Force. Luke was selected because of its facility and ramp capacity, range access, weather and capacity for future growth, the service said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that while he was happy the Air Force selected the base for training, he was “cautiously optimistic” about the health of the F-35 program.

“I urge [F-35 program head Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan] and the Department of Defense to demand excellence from the Air Force and the contractor to ensure that this critical program builds on recent contracting, technical and manufacturing progress,” McCain said in a June 27 statement.

At least 23 pilots have already been trained at Eglin Air Base, where pilots have logged more than 2,300 sorties and more than 3,500 flying hours, according to the Air Force. In addition to Eglin, F-35s also are flying for operational and developmental testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The Air Force announced in June that it expects the F-35A to reach its initial operational capability in December 2016.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

From Our Blogs


The latest from PT365

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook