Belgium Presented with its First F-35A Lightning II

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 will connect assets across domains to increase situational awareness for Belgium and its key European partners By Abi Wylie / 18 Dec 2023
Belgium Presented with its First F-35A Lightning II
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Lockheed Martin has presented Belgium’s first F-35A Lightning II to the Belgian government during a rollout ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 production facility.

This event marks a significant milestone in the Belgian Air Force’s history and strengthens the alliance between the United States and Belgium, a key NATO ally.

Building on the strong legacy of the F-16, the F-35 will provide the next generation of air power to ensure the Belgian Air Force can fulfill its NATO missions and protect the alliance’s key interests. 

By serving as an advanced 21st Century Security solution, the F-35 will connect assets across domains to increase situational awareness for Belgium and its key European partners. 

Senior government and military leaders from Belgium and the United States attended the ceremony. 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 F-35 also creates high-quality, long-term employment opportunities for Belgium. Through the Essential Security Interest (ESI) program, Lockheed Martin will bring cutting-edge manufacturing techniques and benefits, expanding Belgian industry’s skills and knowledge and providing high-tech jobs for Belgians for decades to come. 

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. 

 Greg Ulmer, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said; “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. Today’s milestone would not have been possible without the strong partnership and key contributions from our close partners in Belgian government and industry.”

“The introduction of the F-35 within the Belgian Air Force will enable us to continue to fulfil 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.

Learn how Honeywell’s supports the F-35 on the DA Feature Channel >>

Posted by Abi Wylie Connect & Contact
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