A fleet of Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II aircraft that the U.S. service branches and other countries operate worldwide has reached the mark of 50,000 flight hours.
Lockheed said Wednesday 155 operational fighter jets deployed to six countries reached approximately 37,950 flight hours, while 18 F-35 planes intended for system development and demonstration operations reached 12,050 flight hours.
The F-35A variant reached approximately 26,000 flight hours, while the F-35B and F-35C jets recorded 18,000 and 6,000 hours respectively.
“The next 50,000 hours will be achieved much quicker as we double the size of the F-35 fleet worldwide in the next three years alone,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, F-35 joint program executive officer.
The U.S. Air Force plans to achieve initial operational capability for its fleet of F-35 fighter jets by summer of this year, while the U.S. Navy aims to attain IOC in 2018.