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With the delivery of four Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft, an important milestone was achieved as the Department of Defense now possesses more operational-coded F-35s than test aircraft. A total of nine F-35s were delivered in a year's time, giving the DOD a total of 30
aircraft fleet-wide. Of these, 16 are operational aircraft and 14 are test
To date, the F-35 program has focused on system development and fligh testing and most recently transitioning to low rate initial production A critical threshold was reached with the LRIP 3 delivery. Four aircraft were formally accepted, the first jets manufactured as part of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 3. Three of the jets are F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variants The 5th Generation fighters will be used for pilot and maintenance training at the F-35 Integrated Training Center.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV8-B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of
fighters for at least nine other countries.