Air Force officials formally unveiled the F-35A Lightning II strike fighter during a ceremony with the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla. More than 400 guests watched the unveiling, which took place on Aug. 26 inside the newly constructed hangar at the base, which is home of the initial F-35 schoolhouse. Gen. Edward Rice, commander of Air Education and Training Command, spoke about a “new era” of flight operations during the ceremony. Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President Larry Lawson and Florida state Sen. Don Gaetz (R) also spoke at the event. “While this celebration is taking place in the Air Force hangar with the Air Force variant of the F-35, this is really a story about the fully integrated team of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, industry, and community partners who have been working years to make this day possible,” said Col. Andrew Toth, 33rd FW commander. “Some of us have been waiting a long time to see this day.” Eglin’s first F-35 arrived in mid July. (Eglin report by Chrissy Cuttita)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.