First U.K. pilots begin training to fly F-35

Published: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM.

The United Kingdom has had a hand — and money invested — in the development of the F-35 from the beginning.

“The F-35 would not be here today if it wasn’t for the U.K.,” said Marine Col. Art Tomassetti.

He said the United Kingdom has the most knowledge on earth about short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities, which the F-35B variant has.

The U.K. has purchased three of the planes, two of which already are at Eglin. The third is expected in February.

For now, those planes are added to the Marine fleet of 11 F-35Bs. The three planes are expected to be flown to the U.K. by 2018.

Millington said the community has been extremely supportive of his men and their families, including the 21 children who were brought to live here while the team trains.

Most have settled in Bluewater Bay, he said.

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