GLENDALE, AZ - The first of 144 F-35’s arrived at Luke Air Force Base Monday morning.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Ebner says the new jet is the foundation for the United States Air Force.
“We expect to get 20 by the end of 2014 and then over the course of the next ten years, we expect to achieve that number of 144 air crafts,” said Ebner.
The new fleet of aircraft will replace the old F-16’s.
Most of the F-16s currently at Luke will be reassigned to New Mexico's Holloman Air Force Base as F-35s arrive.
“The F-35 is the fifth generation aircraft which means that we bring advanced stealth and agility and weaponry,” said Ebner. “Most important, it brings an avionics system that fuses its data to give an abundant of information to the pilot.”
However, instructors, pilots and trainees can’t move in just yet.
The jets require different, equipment and training facilities. Colonel John Hanna says the project is good news for the local economy. Around 80 % of the construction projects have gone to local contractors.