Lockheed Martin Delivers First Two Marine Corps F-35s To Eglin

FORT WORTH, Texas, Jan. 11, 2012 – The first two Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] production model F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft were delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps today. The two jets are now assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing's Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 residing with the host 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla.

The aircraft, known as BF-6 and BF-8, flew separately arriving at 3:13 p.m. and 4:39 p.m. CST respectively after their approximate 90-minute ferry flights from Fort Worth, Texas. U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Joseph Bachmann piloted BF-6 while U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt Taylor flew BF-8. Both 5th Generation fighters will be used for pilot and maintainer training at the new F-35 Integrated Training Center.  

“Today marks the beginning of a new era of advanced capabilities for the U.S. Marine Corps,” said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program executive vice president and general manager. “The F-35B’s versatility, as demonstrated onboard the USS WASP (LHD-1) last fall, will revolutionize our nation’s expeditionary combat power in all threat environments by allowing operations from major bases, damaged airstrips, remote locations and a wide range of air-capable ships. This aircraft will give our warfighters the ability to accomplish their mission, wherever and whenever duty calls.”

F-35 STOVLs met many critical milestones in 2011. In October, F-35Bs conducted their first set of ship trials, known as Developmental Test 1, 20 miles off the coast of Wallops Island, Va. During the 19-day testing period, BF-2 and BF-4 conducted 72 vertical landings and short takeoffs, accomplishing all test milestones during the mission. For the year, F-35Bs accomplished 333 System Development and Demonstration test flights and 268 vertical landings.

BF-6 and BF-8 are the first two F-35 deliveries to the Department of Defense in 2012 and the seventh and eighth F-35 aircraft delivered to Eglin AFB since July 2011. Previously, six U.S. Air Force F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) jets were delivered to the base.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least nine other countries.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.

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BF-6, the first F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) production jet delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps, arrives at its new assignment with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing's Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 at Eglin AFB, Fla. The 5th Generation fighter jet, piloted by U.S. Marine Corps pilot Maj. Joseph Bachmann, touched down on Florida’s Emerald Coast at 3:13 p.m. CST after a 90-minute ferry flight. It was followed by BF-8 which landed at 4:39 p.m. CST piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt Taylor. BF-6 and BF-8 are the first F-35s delivered to the base in 2012 and the seventh and eighth F-35 now stationed there. The aircraft will be used for pilot and maintainer training at the base’s new F-35 Integrated Training Center. (photo by Angel DelCueto)


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