Liberty Airmen: A futuristic view of the F-35

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Erin Trower
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

In the coming years, a fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft will arrive at their new home – here at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.

Extensive planning is already underway, to allow for the eventual bed-down of the F-35s.

But well before F-35 pilots, maintainers and other essential personnel can arrive and start executing the new mission, Liberty Airmen on the ground now need to understand what it is they’re planning for.

To educate them, Lockheed Martin provided the ultimate hands-on glimpse into RAF Lakenheath’s future, by way of an F-35 Lightning II Cockpit Demonstrator.

“It’s important for all Airmen to understand that the F-35 is the way of the future for aircraft in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. William Vause, 48th Fighter Wing F-35 program integration officer.

Airmen from various squadrons across base were provided the opportunity to fly the cockpit demonstrator to gain a better understanding of the aircraft’s futuristic capabilities.

“This demonstrator allows us to show individuals, first-hand, some of the things that the aircraft can do,” said Gene White, Lockheed Martin U.S. Air Force F-35A customer engagement representative. “They get the hands-on training and feel, and seeing the cockpit resonates with them for a longer period of time.”

Simulators provide pilots additional training at a reduced cost and are continuously utilized throughout a pilot’s career.

“Due to operational requirements, you’re not always allowed to employ to your best capability while you’re airborne, and the simulator provides that,” Vause said.

Lockheed Martin’s cockpit demonstrators travel globally to inform the public and customers about the aircraft.

I appreciate that you guys let us come out here to show off the F-35 and its true potential,” White said. “We are looking forward to seeing it here in the U.K., and I think you’ll be very happy with what you see and what the aircraft will bring to the fight.”