[Pics] First Belgian F-35A on Lockheed Martin’s infrastructure production line in Forth Worth, Texas (USA)

© Benoît Denet. F-35A USAFE at Sanicole.

The first Belgian F-35A is at the Lockheed Martin production facilities in Forth Worth (USA).

This is the outer wing box, which is the structure of the wing base. The wing is completed on the production line and then moves on to the next stage of the manufacturing process. By the beginning of the summer, construction of these components had already begun at Leonardo’s F-35A production facility in Cameri, Italy. By the end of 2023, Defense expects to deliver the first Belgian F-35A.

Lockheed Martin Fort Worth, Texas – Photo by Alexander H. Groves

On October 26, 2018, Belgium signed a deal worth 3.6 billion euros to purchase 34 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning IIs. Deliveries will be made over a period of seven years. Lockheed Martin (LM) is working closely with the Belgian government to ensure the necessary equipment is provided to support the new Belgian Air Component aircraft https://www.mil.be/nl/over-defensie/luchtcomponent/. This includes, but is not limited to, simulators, support equipment, backup mission equipment and helmets.

© Benoît Denet. F-35A Flash II

The Belgian Air Force (BAF) has decided that its four squadrons operating on F-16MLU, the 31 Sqn and 349 Sqn at Kleine-Brogel AFB and the 1st Sqn and 350 Sqn at Florennes AFB, will be converted to F-35A.

Training of the first pilots is planned at Luke AFB in cooperation with the US Air Forces and LM. Eight aircraft will be stationed there from 2024 to 2028, and 48 training positions for pilots are planned.

For the Florennes base https://www.florennesairbase.be/, the first F-35A will arrive in Kleine-Brogel https://www.kleinebrogelairbase.be/index.php/nl/ in mid-2025 and mid-2027. . 4 Full Flight Simulators (FFS) will be installed on each of the two bases and in the future the concept of Live Virtual Constructive Training (LVCT) will be explored.

© Benoît Denet
© Benoît Denet
© Benoît Denet. F-35A RNLAF
© Benoît Denet. F-35A with a Spitfire and an F-16

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