Air Force jet arrives at Cherry Point facility for upgrades

Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point received its first F-35A Lightning II for upgrade on Aug. 9.

The aircraft variant, primarily operated by the Air Force, was flown from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, to FRC East to receive several depot and field-level airframe modifications.

“The modifications are standard for the airframe and will increase the lethality of the aircraft,” said Don Jeter, F-35 Integrated Product Team lead.

FRC East was integral in helping the Marine Corps achieve initial operating capability for the F-35B in 2015, and attaining the additional capability to repair the F-35A model is a significant achievement for the aircraft repair facility, Jeter said.

“We are excited at this milestone. With this induction and the planned future inductions of some F-35Cs later this year, FRC East will expand its capability to service all three variants of the F-35,” said Jeter.

The expanded capabilities at FRC East align with the planned future course for the air station. Cherry Point is on track to become a major hub for F-35s by 2026, according to the 2016 Marine Aviation Plan.

“It is indicative of the growing scope of work at FRC East and the fifth-generation aircraft,” said Jeter. “FRC East is posturing itself to become the preferred provider for all F-35 depot level maintenance and modifications on the East Coast.”