Lightning Strikes at Luke

The first F-35A strike fighter assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing touched down at Luke AFB, Ariz., its new home, on Monday. “This is the first-ever international weapon system program, and Luke will be the future home of its first-ever international flying training unit,” said Air Force spokesman Maj. Matt Hesson in a statement ahead of the airplane’s March 10 arrival. All F-35 pilots currently train at the joint-service F-35 schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla. “Upon completion of the programmed aircraft delivery, Luke will be home to 144 F-35A aircraft belonging to eight partner nations” for the training, said Hesson. The first F-16 instructor pilot at Luke to convert over to the F-35A began training earlier this year. Luke’s first F-35A is the 100th F-35 airframe to roll off Lockheed Martin’s production line at Fort Worth, Tex.