US Navy’s FRCE achieves F-35 modification milestone

July 19, 2021 (Last Updated July 19th, 2021 12:17)

FRCE inducted the 100th F-35 aircraft for modifications, achieving the milestone in eight years.

US Navy’s FRCE achieves F-35 modification milestone
The 100th F-35 inducted for modification at Fleet Readiness Center East, an F-35B Lightning II short takeoff-vertical landing variant flown by the United States Marine Corps, awaits disassembly prior to modification at FRCE. Credit: U.S. Navy.

Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE), a US Navy aviation repair and maintenance facility, has achieved a key milestone in the F-35 Lightning II programme by inducting the 100th aircraft for modifications.

The facility achieved the milestone in eight years.

FRCE Commanding Officer colonel Thomas A Atkinson said: “We are very proud to support the F-35 platform and achieve this important milestone.

“The F-35 maintenance concept is different than what we see on other platforms. Our experience on these 100 jets has made us stronger as a command and we look forward to continuing our contribution as more F-35s are fielded.

In July 2013, FRCE received the first F-35 aircraft for modification following eight months of preparations to conduct the work.

FRCE F-35 Joint Program Office induction manager Jeanie Holder noted that the facility inducted the first F-35B short takeoff-vertical landing variant on schedule and demonstrated its capabilities on the F-35C carrier and the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants.

The site is now expected to be equipped to handle the additional workload of the F-35 components. The addition of a new lift fan facility and expansion of the F-35 aircraft line’s capacity are in the pipeline.

FRCE site lead for the F-35 Joint Program Office Matt Crisp said: “Although 100 is a great milestone, there are still many more years to go in support of the F-35.

“I have only been on the F-35 programme for a short stint and I’m still getting my feet wet, however, it didn’t take me long to realise this is a special team and I’m glad to help lead the way into the future.

“I hope I’m still here to see our 200th aircraft induction and beyond, as FRCE continues to meet the mission with pride, teamwork and, at times, frustration, and always safely and with quality.”