Lockheed-Martin delivers 500th F-35 as global fleet surpasses 250,000 flight hours

Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office have announced the delivery of the 500th F-35, with the global F-35 fleet surpassing 250,000 flight hours sometime in February.

In a news release, Lockheed-Martin said that the 500th production aircraft is a U.S. Air Force F-35A, to be delivered to the Burlington Air National Guard Base in Vermont. The 500 hundred F-35s include 354 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variants, 108 F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variants and 38 F-35C carrier (CV) variants for the U.S. and international customers.

Meanwhile, the 250,000 flight hours include all F-35s in the fleet comprised of developmental test jets, training, operational, U.S. and international aircraft.

“These milestones are a testament to the talent and dedication of the joint government, military and industry teams,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin, Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 program. “The F-35 is delivering an unprecedented 5th Generation combat capability to the warfighter at the cost of a 4th Generation legacy aircraft.”

The F-35 operates from 23 bases worldwide. More than 985 pilots and over 8,890 maintainers are trained.  Nine nations use the F-35 from their home soil, eight services have declared Initial Operating Capability and four services have employed F-35s in combat operations.

These nine nations include Australia, which has 72 F-35As on order to replace its fleet of F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets, which will be retired from Royal Australian Air Force service by 2023.

In addition, the F-35 has also been selected in recent months by Belgium, Poland and Singapore to replace their own legacy fighter fleets.


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