Plane represents the future of Marine Corps aviation

f-35

The first Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II to land at Cherry Point comes to a stop on the flight line on Tuesday morning. The jet is scheduled for maintenance at Fleet Readiness Center East.

Pfc. Victor Arriaga/U.S. Marine Corps photo
Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 06:27 PM.

The first F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter ever to land at Cherry Point taxied up to Fleet Readiness Center East Tuesday morning.

The stealth jet, Navy Bureau Number 168059, is only the second production model of the F-35B to be completed by manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

It arrived at the FRC East maintenance and repair facility as the first F-35B to enter a modification program that officials have said would be vital to the maintenance of the entire fleet of fifth-generation aircraft.

All three models of the aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps will be serviced at FRC East at some time in the future.

The jet that landed Tuesday at Cherry Point is from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, a newly reactivated Marine Corps training squadron that will ultimately have 20 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The unit is part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is based at Cherry Point.

FRC East officials could not confirm the name of the pilot that flew the aircraft to Cherry Point.

Dave Marriott, spokesman for FRC East, said that the plane had already been placed under tight security in a hangar at the facility.



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