The United States Air National Guard received its first F-35s at the Vermont Air National Guard Base.
“The arrival of the F-35 is a significant milestone for the Green Mountain Boys of the Vermont Air National Guard and state of Vermont. The incredible hard work and dedication from our Airmen and the support from our families and community have brought us to this very moment,” said Col. David Smith, 158th Fighter Wing commander.
“The F-35 provides tremendous capability and secures our future for decades. We will continue to be ready to answer our state and nation’s call.”
With stealth technology, advanced sensors, supersonic speed and superior range, the F-35 is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. The F-35’s ability to collect, analyse and share data, is a powerful force multiplier.
Seven new F-35s will arrive in Vermont through 2019 and the base is on track to receive a total of 20 F-35s.
“As the Air National Guard’s legacy aircraft age and threats advance, the F-35 is essential to maintaining air power now and for decades to come,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 programme.
“We are proud to partner with and build on the Guard’s rich legacy as we deliver the 5th Generation of air power to the Air National Guard. The men and women of the Guard deserve the most advanced technology – and with the F-35, they will always be a step ahead.”
With the addition of the Vermont Air National Guard Base, F-35s are now operating from 19 bases worldwide. More than 425 F-35s have been delivered and more than 890 pilots and 8,230 maintainers have been trained.
Eight countries have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil and seven services have declared Initial Operating Capability.
Images of the Air National Guard’s First F-35 flight at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas can be viewed, here