THE US AIR Force is reshuffling its fifthgeneration fighter formal training units (FTUs). Eglin AFB, Florida, is to expand its resident 33rd Fighter Wing, which will receive a second F-35A training unit in addition to the existing 58th Fighter Squadron ‘Gorillas’. Eglin was the initial F-35 joint training site and hosted USAF, US Navy and US Marine Corps Lightning IIs. The marine F-35Bs were relocated to MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, in 2014 and the navy’s F-35Cs of VFA-101 ‘Grim Reapers’ will depart from Eglin this summer as the ‘Grim Reapers’ close down. Brand new F-35As should begin arriving in the fall of 2021 to equip both resident FTUs, with the new squadron expected to reach full operational capability by spring 2023. Older low-rate initial production F-35As from the 58th FS will move to Nellis AFB to re-form the 65th Aggressor Squadron.

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