2016 Accomplishments

Global Expansion Continues

The worldwide F-35 fleet continued to grow and reach exciting milestones throughout 2016. From international debuts to customer IOC declarations, 2016 was the most exciting year in F-35 program history. Some of the highlights from the year are:

F-35A Debuts in The Netherlands

The F-35 made history on May 23, 2016, as the first two Dutch F-35As touched down in their home country in front of nearly 2,000 people while more than 75,000 people watched the live online broadcast. Jets AN-1 and AN-2 spent three weeks at Leeuwarden Air Base to conduct both aerial and ground environmental tests, perform flights over the North Sea range, and then appear at the Netherlands Open Days, the largest airshow held annually in the Netherlands. The environmental tests showed no noticeable noise difference between the F-35 and F-16s. See amazing imagery from the historic trip to the Netherlands, and watch a video from the trip called “A Promise Kept” here.

Israel Rollout Ceremony

On June 22, Israeli and U.S. government leaders and dignitaries gathered in Fort Worth, Texas, to celebrate the rollout of the first F-35A for the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Israel is the first Foreign Military Sales nation to receive the F-35, which they call “Adir,” meaning “Mighty One” in Hebrew. The Israeli government is very confident in the role the F-35 Adir will play in deterring aggression and maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East region. Experience the event with amazing photos from the ceremony, F-35 static display, group photos in front of the aircraft and a video from the reveal.

F-35 Takes the U.K. by Storm

The F-35B made history when it touched down in Britain for the first time on June 30, 2016. The very next day, the F-35A also touched down with the Heritage Flight Team. A historic two weeks followed with multiple appearances at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) Air Show and then the world-famous Farnborough International Air Show. Follow the F-35's journey in the U.K. by checking out this incredible imagery and inspiring video.

Largest F-35 Customer Declares Initial Operational Capability


The United States Air Force (USAF) officially declared F-35A Initial Operational Capability (IOC) Aug. 2, 2016. The date will forever live in the history books as the day our largest F-35 customer declared they are ready to take the F-35A to combat should the need arise. The announcement came on the second day of the IOC declaration window, showcasing the customer’s confidence and desire to have the F-35A at the ready to defend our nation’s freedoms. Relive the amazing milestone through the Road to IOC video.

F-35C Makes Catching Three Wire Routine for DT-III

Two F-35Cs from the Integrated Test Force (ITF) at Pax River completed ship trials while operating from USS George Washington (CVN 73) off the Atlantic Coast in August. The ITF flew nearly 40 hours and checked off 613 unique test points that further validated the carrier suitability of the F-35C. The jets accrued 121 catapult launches and arrested landings, 70 touch-and-goes and 125 wave-offs, with only one bolter, or missed arrestment. The team once again understood their mission and despite being in one of the harshest working environments possible, flawlessly executed the final F-35C ship trial for System Development and Demonstration.

Japan Rollout Ceremony

Sept. 23, 2016, numerous Japanese senior officials, members of the U.S. government and Lockheed Martin leadership gathered in Fort Worth to celebrate the rollout of the first F-35A for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). This delivery signaled a leap in Japan’s national defense capabilities and further strengthened the U.S. and Japan's long-standing security alliance. Japan is the second foreign military sale F-35 customer to receive the jet, known as AX-1. Experience the Japanese culture from the ceremony and find yourself or friends in front of AX-1. Watch the remarkable reveal of the F-35 as well.


On Oct. 28, the F-35B landed aboard USS America, (LHA-6) for the final at-sea test period for the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) flight test program, F-35B DT-III. Overall, the team accomplished 60 flights, 128 vertical landings, 126 short takeoffs, two vertical takeoffs, and expanded the F-35B’s shipboard operating envelope to full operational capability for the U.S. Marine Corps. Scenes from the testing will blow you away. Hear from the team on board regarding this significant milestone.