USAF conducts first-ever F-35 stealth aircraft shipment via air transport

USAF F-35 air transport C-17
USAF conducts first-ever F-35 stealth aircraft shipment via air transport.

On 8 May 2019 an F-35 Lightning II was transported by air for the first time. The 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, loaded the fifth-generation aircraft into a C-17 Globemaster III to transport it to Hill AFB, Utah. There it will become the USAF’s first F-35 aircraft battle damage trainer. In order to transport the aircraft, the ground crew had to perform the delicate task of removing the wings.

These types of missions are made possible thanks to the capabilities of the heavy airlift and personnel. The C-17 Globemaster III is a longrange, heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft that can operate close to a potential area of operations for combat, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions worldwide.

C-17 is capable of rapid, strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases anywhere in the world. The Globemaster’s load-bearing rear ramp and digitally controlled loading systems, combined with the skills of its crews and ground handlers, enable large, complex items of equipment, including Chinook helicopters, military vehicles and other heavy items of specialist kit to be loaded.

It can transport 100,000lb (45,360kg) of freight more than 4,500nm (8,334km) while flying at altitudes above 35,000ft. The aircraft’s design enables high-angle, steep approaches at relatively slow speeds, allowing it to operate into small, austere airfields and onto runways as short as 3,500ft long and just 90ft wide.

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Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: USAF/2nd Lt. Monica Lubis

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