Wednesday, December 19, 2012

F-35: Air Force approves formal start of pilot training

In another milestone, the USAF has formally approved the pilot training program for the F-35A and will begin the training process.

The Air Force on Monday approved the formal start of pilot training on the A-model of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at a Florida military base, paving the way for 36 expert pilots to be trained next year as instructors for the new stealth warplane.

Air Force General Edward Rice, the four-star general in charge of Air Education and Training Command, said an operational evaluation completed this fall showed that Eglin Air Force Base was ready to start training pilots to fly the radar-evading Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 jet in January.

"It's a milestone," Rice told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We are ready at this point to begin our formal training program." 
The program has had a good year, accomplishing a number of milestones, continuing to stay ahead of  its testing schedule and seeing the cost per unit continue to come down.  As many among DoD are saying, it appears the program has hit its stride.  Of course, there are still major milestones to accomplish but there's no denying the F-35's progress in 2012.  This formal approval by the USAF is a fitting finish for the year.


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