MCAS Cherry Point receives F-35 airframe to support fleet readiness

MCAS Cherry Point receives F-35 airframe to support fleet readiness

By Dario Leone
Mar 15 2021
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The F-35 airframe will be used as a depot maintenance trainer as well as a test-bed for sustainment engineering.

Fleet Readiness Center East and the F-35 Joint Program Office collaborated to have an F-35 airframe delivered to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina, Mar. 8, 2021. The airframe will be used as a depot maintenance trainer as well as a test-bed for sustainment engineering. According to MCAS Cherry Point Facebook Page, this will allow employees a chance to test their skills on the airframe before being required to perform tasks on a fleet aircraft.

MCAS Cherry Point receives F-35 airframe to support fleet readiness
An F-35 airframe is transported to Fleet Readiness Center East at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina, March 9, 2021. The airframe was delivered to MCAS Cherry Point by way of barge from MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, on March 8, 2021.

“We’re excited to have this airframe available,” said Matthew Crisp, the Joint Program Office depot and modifications lead. “It allows us to train our workforce and test new engineering sustainment initiatives without impacting a fleet aircraft. It will only make us better prepared to support fleet readiness.”

The F-35B and F-35C replaced the EA-6B and will replace the F/A-18 and the AV-8B currently in service with the US Marine Corps (USMC). The USMC will procure a total of 420 F-35s (353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs). The F-35B declared IOC in July 2015 with VMFA-121 at MCAS Yuma. The squadron subsequently moved to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan in January 2017.

Lockheed F-35 Lightning II model
This model is available from AirModels! CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

In order to support transitions to F-35C, the US Marine Corps (USMC) procured 23 F-35Cs in FY19, and continues to deliver trained pilots to the joint Navy/Marine Corps F-35C FRSs and first USMC F-35C squadron. The USMC is currently contributing F-35C aircraft, instructor pilots and maintainers to USN F-35C FRSs. VMFA-314 is the first USMC F-35C squadron. The unit is expected to train at a pace that will put them at a T2 rating by the middle of FY 2021, prepared to deploy in support of a CVN TAI deployment in early 2022. The Marine Corps will procure a total of 67 F35Cs to equip 4 Squadrons.

The full transition from legacy to F-35 will complete with the transition of the second reserve squadron in 2031.

F-35B Print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35C Lightning II VFA-125 Rough Raiders, NJ406, 169160 / 2018

Photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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