F-35A reaches ‘huge milestone’ in program development
Air Force officials began their F-35A Lightning II Operational Utility Evaluation Monday, an instrumental step in beginning Joint Strike Fighter pilot and maintenance training for the service.
Two 33rd Fighter Wing pilots at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., along with two Air Force test pilots, will conduct the review expected to last approximately 65 days.
“The start of the OUE is another huge milestone for the Air Force and the program as a whole,” said Col. Andrew Toth, 33rd FW commander. “We’ve been preparing for this event since the arrival of our first aircraft in July last year. So far, the men and women of the 33rd Fighter Wing have proven we can successfully execute safe and effective flying operations in addition to academic training.”
Since February’s Military Flight Release, 11 experienced fighter pilots checked out in basic F-35A operations so they can be prepared to be the military’s first cadre for the fifth generation fighter.
Maj. John Wilson and Maj. Matthew Johnston, the 33rd FW pilots going through the evaluation, are ready to be taken through a rigorous process where data will be collected from all facets of JSF training — maintenance, classroom, simulator and flights.