The US 388th Fighter Wing set a speed record for bringing online a newly-delivered aircraft last week, flying a sortie less than five hours after accepting delivery of its 68th F-35 aircraft.
According to the US Air Force, F-35A aircraft tail number 5261 left Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth production facility a little after 8 a.m. on August the 1st and landed at Hill Air Force Base at 10 a.m, and by 3 p.m. had taken off on its first combat training mission.
“The F-35A program’s production and delivery plan was designed to allow rapid aircraft induction and quick use by the customers,” said Col. Michael Miles, 388th Maintenance Group commander.
“We’ve shown the enterprise it’s possible.”
In theory, it means that F-35 jets could be deployed directly from the factory into combat if a large-scale conflict ever drives that need, Miles said.
When a new F-35A comes off the line at the production facility, it undergoes several contract and government check flights before the US Air Force accepts final delivery.
The 388th and 419th FWs are the Air Force’s first combat-capable F-35 units.