The first F-35A for the “Green Mountain Boys” is also the first Lightning II for the U.S. Air National Guard.
The first F-35A Lightning II destined to the Vermont Air National Guard made its first flight from Lockheed Martin Ft. Worth facility, Texas, on Jul. 31, 2019.
The aircraft, AF17-5265, is the first of 20 stealth jets that will be taken on charge by the 158th Fighter Wing at Burlington Air National Guard Base, Burlington, Vermont, starting in September 2019: the unit is slated to be equipped with 18 aircraft and two reserve aircraft.
The “Green Mountain Boys” have ceased their F-16C/D Block 30 operations on Apr. 6, 2019, after flying the “Viper” (as the aircraft is dubbed in the fighter pilots community) for 33 years.
As the unit prepares to operate their first 5th generation aircraft, local residents are still opposing the basing of the F-35s at Burlington because of concerns related to the “dangers” associated with the jet (including the exposure to the increased noise generated by the Joint Strike Fighter.)