USAF to train on new F-35 before year’s end.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II test aircraft AA-1 undergoes…

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II test aircraft AA-1 undergoes flight testing over Fort Worth, Texas. An airborne networking team at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is working to connect low-observables aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor, F-35 and B-2 Spirit with each other, and with the rest of the force. (Courtesy photo courtesy)

The U.S. Air Force will begin training on new fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft before the end of the year, the program’s top official said.

The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will take delivery of 20 F-35A-model conventional take-off variant aircraft with Block 1 training software after a brief informal operational evaluation so that instructor pilots can begin their training, said Vice Adm. Dave Venlet, the new JSF program executive officer.

“We’re going to put them in the hands of the fleet and the Air Force is going to be operating [Conventional take-off and landing aircraft] in training at Eglin before the year ends,” Venlet told a luncheon hosted by the National Aeronautic Association.

However, because it is unusual for an aircraft to be delivered to line pilots before formal operational testing is complete, Venlet said that the program will conduct an abbreviated informal test prior to handing over the new fighters.

“It’s not a full operational test, it doesn’t resolve any measures of effectiveness,” he said.

Source: Dave Majumdar for Defense News.

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