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U.S. Air Force gets F-35A fighter airborne five hours after delivery

The accomplishment means that, if necessary, the Air Force can take an F-35 fresh from production line immediately into combat, officials said.

By
Ed Adamczyk
An F-35A Lightning II fighter plane was on a combat training mission five hours after it was received from the manufacturer on Aug. 1, 2019, the U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday. File Photo by SSgt. Peter Thompson/U.S. Air Force
An F-35A Lightning II fighter plane was on a combat training mission five hours after it was received from the manufacturer on Aug. 1, 2019, the U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday. File Photo by SSgt. Peter Thompson/U.S. Air Force

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- It took only five hours for Hill AFB, Utah, to accept delivery of a new F-35A Lighting II fighter plane and fly a local sortie, the U.S. Air Force announced on Wednesday.

A F-35A departed from manufacturer Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth, Texas, production facility shortly after 8 a.m. on Aug. 1, arrived at the air base at 10 a.m., and had taken off on its first combat training mission by 3 p.m. The Air Force referred to the schedule as a record-setting feat.

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"The F-35A program's production and delivery plan was designed to allow rapid aircraft induction and quick use by the customers," Col. Michael Miles, 388th Maintenance Group commander at Hill AFB, said in a press release. "We've shown the enterprise it's possible."

In theory, the plane could be deployed directly from the factory into combat if necessary, Miles added.

Military aircraft generally undergo contract and government-mandated check flights, a process that formerly took weeks, but logistics information and data collection systems in the F-35 can pinpoint potential problems much faster, Chief MSgt. Trey Nunn said.

"We've been working toward this goal as the program has matured and this is great step, and a testament to the work of the folks at Lockheed Martin, the Joint Program Office, and the Airmen in the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings," Munn said.

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