Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office have delivered the 700th production F-35 jet.
The firm say here that with more than 700 F-35s now delivered to U.S. and international operators, “the impact of the global fleet is far reaching – significantly enhancing the allied joint force”.
“The F-35 remains a premier air system of choice for three of the armed forces, seven international partners and six foreign military sales customers. It routinely demonstrates high-end capabilities at the hands of our joint and international warfighters, and it’s performing in combat operations from land and sea,” said Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby.
Today, F-35s are operating from 21 bases around the globe. More than 1,460 pilots and 11,025 maintainers have been trained and the F-35 fleet has surpassed 430,000 cumulative flight hours.
One of the most visible examples of international F-35 collaboration is the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group deployment. The United Kingdom’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier began its initial deployment in May 2021, with British and U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs aboard.
Lockheed Martin also say that by 2035, more than 450 F-35s will be stationed on the European continent, including 48 U.S. Air Force F-35As. NATO members with F-35 programs of record include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom and United States.
Switzerland recently selected the F-35 as the nation’s next fighter platform, production of the first F-35 for Poland is scheduled to begin in 2022 and the first aircraft is expected to be delivered in 2024. Preliminary talks are also underway with several potential new F-35 customers in Europe.