An F-35 Lightning II took to the skies over the West Valley on May 5 in what was the first local training sortie for the fifth-generation fighter jet. The jet, tail number LF 5031, is currently the only F-35 at the base. Additional jets are expected to arrive at Luke within the next few weeks.
“The ability to conduct local flight operations demonstrates the commitment by thousands of individuals who have worked to make this a reality,” said Lt. Col. Michael Ebner, 61st Fighter Squadron commander.
“Our first sortie this week represents a significant milestone in the F-35 program at Luke.”
There are currently six F-35 pilots assigned to the 61st FS, which is the first F-35 squadron at Luke. There will eventually be approximately 30 by the time the squadron is up to full capacity.