Tag Archives: F-35A

Swiss Give F-35 a Nod as it Passes 400,000 Hours in the Air

Over 625 F-35s of all variants have been produced so far. (Lockheed Martin Photo by Angel DelCueto Job Reference Number: FP20-08147 Salvo WMJ Reference Number: 20-08147 Customer: F-35 Communications; Tony Salvo Event: First Denmark F-35 (AP-1) Move from EMAS 1 to Soft Station Location: Fort Worth, Texas Date: 09-15-2020 Time: 1700 Public Release: Approved per JPO Document JSF20-906)

Lockheed-Martin announced this week that the global F-35 fleet has achieved 400,000 flight hours– including developmental test aircraft, training, operational, U.S., and international airframes.

“This milestone is a testament to the dedicated work of the joint government, military, and industry teams sustaining, maintaining, operating, and flying F-35s around the globe,” said Bridget Lauderdale, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program. “With every delivery and every flight hour, the enterprise gets more mature and effective and we are laser-focused on continuing to deliver the most capable, available, and affordable 5th Generation fighter aircraft.”

The announcement came at the same time the Swiss gave the F-35 a greenlight against stiff competition that included the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, and Eurofighter Typhoon for its $6.5 billion fighter program. The country, which currently flies 30 F-18C/D models, wants 36 F-35As before 2030 when the older Hornets are set to retire.

Get this, the reason the Lightning got the win in Bern was that the F-35A also has the lowest operating costs, over 30 years, of all of the candidates evaluated.

I hope, for the Swiss and everyone else that is using the F-35, those estimates hold up.

Viva l’Italia!

And the first F-35 transatlantic crossing has gone to the Italian air force (Aeronautica Militare). As reported by FlightGlobal, an Italian made, maintained and flown F-35A Lightning II (#AL-1) made the puddle jump supported by an AM KC-767 tanker (with just 7 refuelings!)

The aircraft took off today from Lajes Field on Portugal’s Azores island group at 7.30am local time before turning south over Canada to touch down at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland at about 2.24pm on 5 February – approximately 7h and more than 2,000nm later.

At the controls was Italian test pilot Maj Gianmarco, callsign “Ninja” – a former Panavia Tornado pilot who graduated from the multinational F-35A pilot school at Luke AFB in Arizona in November and has accumulated 80h of flight time on the type.