Naval Air Station Key West will welcome its first training detachment of F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, the Grim Reapers, Oct. 31.

VFA-101, based at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, trains and qualifies F-35C aircrew and maintenance professionals to operate safely and effectively as part of a Carrier Strike Group at sea.
The detachment of 10 jets to NAS Key West’s Boca Chica Field provides VFA-101 with the opportunity to train at the East Coast’s most expansive unencumbered air range. The squadron will train students in Fleet Replacement Squadron syllabus events, to include flying against adversary squadron the Sun Downers of Fighter Squadron Composite (VFC) 111. This detachment also provides the squadron the opportunity to evaluate training, readiness and integration metrics.
For NAS Key West, hosting the squadron provides F-35C support experience for the installation and tenant commands in order to be prepared for upcoming F-35C detachments.
“I’m thrilled to host our first F-35 detachment and I’m looking forward to many more,” said NAS Key West Commanding Officer Capt. Bobby Baker. “This will be a great experience, not only for the squadron, but for the NAS Key West team, as we learn how best to support the newest strike-fighter aircraft in the Navy fleet.”
The squadron will host a media availability while it is in Key West, time and date to be determined.
160511-N-SX614-017 KEY WEST, Florida (May 11, 2016) F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 made their first-ever visit to Naval Air Station Key West during a stop on an extended training flight. The F-35Cs are assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. VFA-101 is training and qualifying F-35C aircrew and maintenance professionals to operate safely and effectively as part of a carrier air strike group at sea. Key West is a state-of-the-art facility for air-to-air combat fighter aircraft of all military services and provides world-class pierside support to U.S. and foreign naval vessels.

Source: KONK Life
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