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Navy to base 100 F-35Cs at Lemoore

A Lockheed Martin maintainer for the Naval F-35C Lightning II carries wheel chocks back to a hangar after a refueling session at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. on May 6, 2014.

SAMUEL KING JR./U.S. AIR FORCE

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 2, 2014

The Navy will base its West Coast F-35Cs at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California, the Navy announced Thursday.

A total of 100 F-35C jets will gradually replace 70 aging FA-18 Hornets, increasing the number of aircraft at Lemoore by 30 by 2028, the Navy said, though the number will be similar to 2013 levels.

The Navy’s joint strike fighter variant will be assigned in seven Navy Pacific Fleet squadrons of 10 jets each, and a Fleet Replacement Squadron will have 30 jets.

The move, which will begin in 2016, will increase the number of operations at Lemoore by about 68,400 each year, and increase operations at Naval Air Facility El Centro by about 800 each year, the Navy said.

There will be no changes in the number of aircraft based at Naval Air Facility El Centro.

In August, Bloomberg News reported that flight restrictions on the F-35 were hindering the ability of the DOD to do necessary software tests, and that the testing for the Marine Corps version of the jet was five months behind schedule.

In March, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for budget said the sea service was cutting the number of F-35Cs it will buy in the next five years from 69 to 36, in order to save money.

news@stripes.com

 

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