The Air Force’s 100th F-35 Lightning II strike fighter arrived at Luke AFB, Ariz., on Friday, less than a month after the service declared its latest fifth generation aircraft was ready for combat, according to a release. Luke, which received its first F-35 in 2014, now houses more than 40 Joint Strike Fighters, including Australian and Norwegian jets. The base also recently activated its third of six F-35 training units, the 63rd Fighter Squadron. “This marks a milestone and shows the fact that the F-35 program has continued to grow, progress, and support initial operational capability,” Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, the 56th Fighter Wing commander said. “It is also a ‘scare factor’ for our enemies that we are able to produce such an incredible platform at such a high production rate and that it’s getting out in the field in larger and larger numbers.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.