FORT WORTH, Texas, June 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's first F-35C Lightning II fighter built by Lockheed Martin has been flown to Florida for use in training pilots and support crews.
The carrier variant CF-6 will be used by Strike Squadron 101 at Eglin Air Force Base, which will serve as the F-35C fleet replacement squadron.
Four additional carrier variants will be delivered to the Navy later this year.
"We are committed to the Navy's vision for the F-35 that will revolutionize forward-based combat power in current and future threat environments," said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. "The F-35 represents the new standard in weapon systems integration, maintainability, combat radius and payload that brings true multi-mission capability to the Navy."
The Navy's F-35C and Marine Corps' CV have larger wings and stronger landing gear than the other F-35 variants.
The F-35, a fifth-generation aircraft with stealth capability, is set to replace the NAVY'S F/A-18 and the Marine's AV-8B Harrier and the Air Force's A-10 and F-16 fighters.
The Navy plans to declare initial operational capability for the C-variant of the aircraft in 2019.