Lockheed Martin announced Monday that it has installed the first weapons-load training device at the F-35 integrated pilot-and-maintenance training center at Eglin AFB, Fla., home of the 33rd Fighter Wing. This system will allow maintenance students to hone their skills loading munitions, fuel tanks, and missile systems onto all three F-35 strike fighter variants, according to the company. The device will complement classroom academics and additional hands-on experience. “We are focused on delivering an agile training capability to the newest crop of fifth generation pilots and maintainers,” said Joanne Puglisi, Lockheed’s director of F-35 training and support. This installation is the latest step in the build-up of the F-35 ITC. The center may host up to five weapons-load trainers, said the company.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.