The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has declared an initial squadron of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics F-35A Lightning II fighter jets ready for combat, marking a major milestone for the program. The Squadron fields 15 of the advanced combat jet.

The USAF’s decision follows one by the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) in July 2015 declaring a first squadron of aircraft ready for combat.

The U.S. Air Force plans to buy a total of 1,763 of the fighter.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics together with local and foreign partners is building three different models of the F-35 Lightning II for the U.S. and 10 other nations comprising the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, the Netherlands, Israel, South Korea and Japan.

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