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Swift Progress: F-35 Operations At Luke AFB

Code One Magazine // August 05, 2015

International aspects of F-35 training at Luke make operations at the base different from other F-35 bases.

Photo by Darin Russell

The US Army Air Corps deployed a team to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1940 to scout for a place to train fighter pilots. The Sonoran Desert south of the Arizona capital offered ample airspace and optimum flying conditions. The training base was soon established west of the city and named Luke Field after Phoenix native and Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Frank Luke, Jr., who recorded eighteen aerial victories before being killed in action in France during World War I.

During World War II, more than 17,000 pilots were trained at Luke, making it the largest single-engine advanced training school in the United States. During the war, the base earned the nickname, “Home of the Fighter Pilot.”

That fighter pilot training tradition continues today at Luke with the F-35 Lightning II. The base has been designated as the primary F-35A training base for the US Air Force as well as for eight international partner air forces and several other countries purchasing F-35s under Foreign Military Sales, or FMS, programs.

Read the full story from Code One Magazine.