New F-35 Fighter Jets Are Ready for Combat

1 minute read

The U.S. Marine Corps declared a new squadron of F-35 fighter jets ready for deployment on Friday, yielding the first shipment from a controversial $400 billion fighter program that has struggled through years of costly delays.

A squadron of 10 F-35B Lightning II aircraft passed a final round of inspections on July 18, according to a statement by the U.S. Marine Corps.

“The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our Nation with its first 5th generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win,” Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford said in a public statement. More than 50 pilots and 500 maintenance crew members have been trained on the newest variant of F-35 fighter jet.

See Air Force One's Transformation Over 70 Years

A view of Air Force One on the runway.
After the original Air Force One, a C-87A Liberator Express nicknamed Guess Where II, was deemed unsafe for presidential use, this Douglas C-54 Skymaster, nicknamed Sacred Cow was introduced for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. It was equipped with a radio telephone, sleeping area, and elevator for President Roosevelt's wheelchair. Thomas D. McAvoy—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Faded color photograph of the Independence in flight.Date: ca. 1947 The Independence
In 1947, Sacred Cow was replaced with Independence by President Truman, who named it after his hometown. The Douglas DC-6 Liftmaster's nose was painted as a bald eagle.Truman Presidential Library
President Dwight Eisenhower’s private plane
President Eisenhower added Columbine II, a Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation, to the Presidential fleet in 1953.William J. Smith—AP
British Royalty, Royal Tour of the United States, pic: October 1957, Washington, USA, HM, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh pictured alongside US, President Dwight Eisenhower at the airport welcome
Columbine III, and two smaller Aero Commanders, joined Eisenhower's Presidential planes. Popperfoto/Getty Images
Air Force One
Special Air Mission 26000, a Boeing 707, went into presidential service under the Kennedy administration. SAM 26000 stayed in service through Bill Clinton's administration until 1998. Wally Nelson—AP
Although SAM 26000 remained in service throughout the 1990s, it was replaced as the primary executive aircraft by SAM 27000, the same model aircraft, in 1972. Pictured here is President Ronal Reagan on SAM 27000.TSGT Michael J. Haggerty—AP
Barack Obama,
In 1990, SAM 28000, a Boeing 747 was introduced to the Presidential fleet.Pablo Martinez Monsivais—AP
Airplane Takeoffs And Landings At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
SAM 29000, also a Boeing 747, remains President Obama's primary transport aircraft.Raymond Boyd—Getty Images
This Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jetliner, the first VIP-configured aircraft, rolls out for an undisclosed customer for takeoff from Paine Field in Everett, Washington
In January, 2015, it was announced that a Boeing 747-8 will take over as the newest member of the Presidential Fleet known as Air Force One.Anthony Bolante—Reuters

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at