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Eglin AFB F-35s surpass 5,000 combined sorties

A Navy F-35C, a Marine Corps F-35B, and an Air Force F-35A Lightning II participate in a training sortie together May 21, 2014, near Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The F-35 Integrated Training Center at Eglin AFB surpassed 5,000 combined training sorties May 28, 2014, contributing more than a third of all sorties in the Department of Defense’s F-35 program. All three variants of the fifth generation multirole stealth fighter are hosted by the 33rd Fighter Wing here. The F-35 is designed with the stealth, electronic warfare, and multi-spectral fused sensor capabilities, which will increase lethality and survivability in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joely M. Santiago)

A Navy F-35C, a Marine Corps F-35B, and an Air Force F-35A Lightning II participate in a training sortie together May 21, 2014, near Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The F-35 Integrated Training Center at Eglin AFB surpassed 5,000 combined training sorties May 28, 2014, contributing more than a third of all sorties in the Department of Defense’s F-35 program. All three variants of the fifth generation multirole stealth fighter are hosted by the 33rd Fighter Wing here. The F-35 is designed with the stealth, electronic warfare, and multi-spectral fused sensor capabilities, which will increase lethality and survivability in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joely M. Santiago)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- The 33rd Fighter Wing here etched another mark on the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter program by logging its 5,000th combined sortie, May 28. 

The F-35 Integrated Training Center, or ITC, flies a third of all the sorties in the Department of Defense program. More than 15,000 sorties have been flown across all variants of the fifth generation multirole stealth fighter.

"Our team knows they are leading the way in putting the F-35 through its paces and developing the cadre that will establish the F-35's role in air dominance," said Col. Todd Canterbury, the 33rd FW commander. "The men and women here advance the ball down the line every day, and we see that in the number of sorties generated and students trained."

The maturity of the F-35 program at Eglin AFB was echoed this week, he said.

Also this week, the 58th Fighter Squadron welcomed its 26th and final F-35A delivery, scheduled in the current environmental impact study.

The F-35 ITC is responsible for F-35 A/B/C Lightning II pilot and maintainer training for the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force and, in the future, at least eight international partners.

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