Lockheed Martin presents first of Belgium’s F-35A purchase in ceremony

A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightening II fighter jet in flight

Lockheed Martin announced in a press release that it has presented Belgium’s first F-35A Lightning II to the Belgian government during a ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 production facility.  

According to the press release, “Belgium’s program of record calls for 34 F-35As. The first aircraft, designated AY-01, will be delivered to the Belgian Air Force next year and will be based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where international F-35 pilot and maintainer training takes place. ”

“The introduction of the F-35 within the Belgian Air Force will enable us to continue to fulfill all our missions in the coming decades, in cooperation with our allies and partners in NATO, the EU and beyond,” said Chief of Defense for the Belgian Armed Forces, Admiral Michel Hofman.

“We congratulate Belgium on this significant achievement,” said Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, program executive officer, F-35 Joint Program Office. “The growth of the F-35 in Europe strengthens international partnerships, interoperability, and warfighting capability; and emphasizes the importance the aircraft provides as a deterrent against potential adversaries.” 

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 ”With its unmatched capability, connectivity and interoperability, the 5th Generation F-35 will enable the Belgian Air Force to stay ahead of threats for decades to come,” said Greg Ulmer, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “Today’s milestone would not have been possible without the strong partnership and key contributions from our close partners in Belgian government and industry.”  

According to the press release:

F-35s are now operating from 31 bases worldwide. To date, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 980 F-35s, trained more than 2,250 pilots and 15,125 maintainers, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed 768,000 cumulative flight hours. Lockheed Martin continues to work side by side with F-35 operators to ensure allies remain ahead of the evolving threat. 

Lockheed Martin and Cobb County

The Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta has been a major employer in Cobb County since 1951, when the Lockheed Corporation, a predecessor of Lockheed Martin, took over the former site of the WWII Bell Bomber plant.

The C-130 program is the largest program operating at the Marietta facility. The plant currently produces the C-130J Super Hercules (see the company’s Fast Facts on the C-130J or the company’s C-30J brochure for more information).

The Marietta plant also provides ongoing support for the C-5 Galaxy, which celebrated its 50th year in operation in 2018. The C-5 Galaxy is expected to remain in service until 2045.

The Marietta location also supports the P-3 Orion, and manufactures the center wings for the F-35.

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