A major milestone in the British operation of the F-35B has been achieved.
Air Vice-Marshal Richard Knighton has signed the initial ‘Release to Service’ of the aircraft, setting out the safe operation envelope.
Major milestone for Lightning’s introduction into service; a huge effort has gone into producing this.
This will allow pilots with no previous experience of frontline fast jets to operate the aircraft.
Signed Lightning II initial Release to Service yesterday. This sets out the safe operating envelope. Key milestone. Great work by the team. pic.twitter.com/oOVl77IIqC
— AVM Richard Knighton (@richardknighton) February 15, 2017
The US Marine Corps recently deployed F-35B aircraft to Japan for the jets first operational deployment.
The first squadron of F-35Bs, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, left their base in Arizona on Tuesday the 10th of January and will take a few days to arrive at the Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan.
Capt. Kurt Stahl said:
“The Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft is a true force multiplier. The unique combination of stealth, cutting-edge radar and sensor technology, and electronic warfare systems bring all of the access and lethality capabilities of a fifth-generation fighter, a modern bomber, and an adverse-weather, all-threat environment air support platform.”
VMFA-121 received its first F-35B in November 2012 ahead of the Marine Corps announcement of initial operational capability for the jet in July 2015. VMFA-121 has taken part in numerous drills and exercises in the US involving the F-35B.
The jets will also deploy aboard an amphibious flattop later in the year. The F-35B has already flown from American assault ships as part of a series of tests, which largely went well.
The US Marine Corps has said it is also capable of deploying their F-35’s to the Middle East, if necessary.