Martin made an important stride towards proving the financial burden of its
F-35 program is worthwhile, when it recently delivered a production jet at
Eglin Air Force Base. The private contractor believes the F-35 will help
modernize the U.S. military, and help allies keep their airspace safe (for a
The F-35 model Eglin took delivery of was the F-35 Lightning II model, and the
jet requires a traditional takeoff and landing. Eglin first expected to receive
the fighter in November, but design and engineering issues forced a delay until
"We're incredibly proud of our government/industry team whose steadfast
dedication to this program led to the successful delivery of AF-9
today,” noted Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager. "The
exceptional capabilities of this 5th generation fighter are now in the very
capable hands of the men and women of the 33rd Fighter Wing who are ushering in
a new era of F-35 training. We look forward to delivering our full complement
of F-35s to the Emerald Coast in the months and years ahead.”
The F-35's introduction at Eglin AFB has led to excitement in the region, with
base officials anxiously waiting since late 2009.
Even though Eglin personnel had to wait longer than expected, preparation work
continued in simulators and in classrooms. Flight operators are now trying to
figure out how to split up flight and training time among an anxious staff
hoping to jump into the cockpit and have wrench time with the aircraft.
The F-35 Lightning II and other variations of the pricey fighter jet will be
utilized by the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and several other allied
Despite being a program with extremely high hopes, the F-35 has endured a bumpy
road as budget issues and continued delays plague the military. Lockheed
recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that some models will cost a
whopping $771 million per aircraft -- with a $264M down payment requested to the
To make matters worse, necessary F-22 upgrades also are overbudget, and U.S. lawmakers are
growing tired of Lockheed Martin's development issues.
quote: What's ugly is that the F-35 sacrifices everything that makes a good fighter (range, speed, armaments, maneuverability) for the supposed 5'th Generation stealth advantage, when in fact, it's not as stealthy as the F-22 and it's "advantage" is nearly negated by more advanced detection systems.