EGLIN EXPANSION

UNITED STATES

NEW F-35A TRAINING SQUADRON PLANS

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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