Pilots train on new F-35 jets at Beaufort Marine air station

Lockheed Martin demonstrated its F-35 Lightning ll fighter jet with a cockpit simulator in Columbia in October. Pilots have begun training on the jets at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort.

BEAUFORT, S.C. — Some experienced pilots have begun training on the next-generation F-35B fighter jets at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

The Beaufort Gazette reports that Lt. Col. Luis Villalobos told a meeting of the Sun City Forum Club that some experienced pilots have begun training on the aircraft and that more are scheduled to begin making the transition in February.

Training is expected to expand to more pilots by the end of the year.

The F-35B is a short-takeoff and vertical landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. The F-35B could deploy next year.

The Beaufort air station has about 15 of the new aircraft at the moment.

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Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, http://www.beaufortgazette.com