The U.S. military just took a big step towards fielding a new, stealthy jet fighter that proponents say will revolutionize U.S. combat power in the Pacific. The U.S. Air Force’s training command reportedly gave approval for a pair of experienced pilots to being flying F-35A stealth fighters on limited missions in the vicinity of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, home to the 33rd Fighter Wing. The Wing will train Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps pilots on their different versions of the fighter. The test flights, approved on Friday, are meant to pave the way for full-scale training.
The Lockheed Martin-made F-35 is still in testing at sites across the United States; the Air Force expects the jet and its pilots to be fully combat-ready no earlier than 2018. In all, the Pentagon plans to purchase around 2,500 F-35s for all three branches of the military.
Source: David Axe for the Diplomat.