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    Lockheed Martin Rolls Out First of F-35 Fighter Jets Ordered by NATO Member Belgium

    Lockheed Martin Rolls Out First of F-35 Fighter Jets Ordered by NATO Member Belgium

    The Belgian military got its first look at the F-35A Lightning II combat jets it ordered from Lockheed Martin on Sunday at the company's facility in Fort Worth.

    , a member of NATO and the European Union, ordered 34 of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft it says will enable it to fulfill its military obligations.

    “The introduction of the F-35 within the Belgian  will enable us to continue to fulfill all our missions in the coming decades, in cooperation with our allies and partners in NATO, the EU and beyond,” Chief of Defense for the Belgian Armed Forces Adm. Michel Hofman said.

    Belgium already had Lockheed's older model, the F-16, in use in its military, according to Lockheed Martin. The company said the F-35, which was designed to replace the F-16 and Fairchild Aircraft A-10, will allow the country to play a bigger role in cooperative missions with its allies.

    The first aircraft, designated the AY-01, was rolled out Sunday for the ceremony, but is expected to be delivered at Luke Air Force  in Arizona sometime in 2024, according to Lockheed.

    Pilots from the United States and its allies, including NATO members like Belgium, train at Luke Air Force Base, as do maintenance personnel.

    The F-35, widely regarded as one of the most advanced fighter aircraft to date and a key to assuring air superiority by the United States and its allies, operates from 31 bases around…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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