Eglin Reaches Full F-35A Complement

The last of 26 Air Force F-35A strike fighters slated for delivery to the F-35 joint schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla., joined the 33rd Fighter Wing there. “The arrival of AF-45 is an incredible milestone for the Air Force as we move closer to F-35A initial operational capability in 2016,” said 33rd FW Commander Col. Todd Canterbury in a June 2 base release. “Having our full end strength grants our pilots and maintainers more flexibility in training, and that flexibility lets us advance the F-35 program at a faster rate than ever before,” he added. In addition to the 26 Air Force jets, the schoolhouse currently hosts 12 Marine Corps F-35Bs, and six Navy F-35Cs, wing spokeswoman 1st Lt. Hope Cronin told Air Force Magazine on Wednesday. With the two Dutch F-35As and three British F-35Bs, Eglin currently boasts 49 strike fighters. The Navy plans to get another nine F-35Cs by next spring, bringing the F-35 fleet there close to the 59-aircraft limit imposed by Eglin’s current permitting, noted Cronin.