I came across this MCAS Beaufort news story this morning and it confirms some information I’ve seen on the internet and probably explains what I heard earlier in the week. Two F-35Bs, SWEDE 11/12 (F-35B, VMFAT-501), at MCAS Beaufort on Wednesday morning; they were using 289.950, a frequency noted for F-35 activity at Eglin AFB where VMFAT-501 is currently based. It was also interesting to note that they checked in with SWEDE BASE on 281.800 (MCAS Beaufort Base Ops) prior to their arrival. With this news story, I’m guessing it is related to the completion of the Joint Strike Fighter Training Center at MCAS Beaufort and the impending transfer of VMFAT-401 from Eglin AFB to MCAS Beaufort. According to this article, they will relocate to Beaufort in January 2014.
Pilot training center complete
By Cpl. Rubin Tan | Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort | August 09, 2013
MCAS Beaufort —
The Joint Strike Fighter Pilot Training Center was completed this month with capabilities to hold 8 full mission F-35B simulators, classrooms, briefing rooms and more.
Construction of new facilities aboard Fightertown continue for the expected arrival of two training and three operational F-35B squadrons.
F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is slated to replace the F/A-18 with Fightertown having the facilities available to train Marine aviators on the aircraft. The Air Station will serve as the hub for all F-35B training throughout the Marine Corps.
Advancement in aviation has brought forth the Joint Strike Fighter Program by Department of Defense to provide the U.S military and allies, affordable next generation strike aircraft weapon systems.
The F-35B is a single-engine, single-seat aircraft with capabilities to perform short takeoffs and vertical landings. New stealth capabilities, integrated training systems and global sustainment is also incorporated into the aircraft.
Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, who is currently at Eglin Air Force Base, is expected to relocate to Fightertown in January 2014.
“With the new aircraft, pilots will have ever y tactical advantage in the modern world environment against technology in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat scenarios,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Johnson, JSF site activation task force officer.
Future projects include the construction of vertical landing pads and landing helicopter deck training facilities.
“After looking at this jet, I received even more comfort in knowing that this was the next-generation fighter that would support the Marines on the ground,” said Col. Michael Cederholm, the former MAG-31 commanding officer in an interview with Leatherneck Magazine. “As a father, I want this aircraft overhead of my son in a time of crisis, and hope that ever y parent, spouse and family member finds that same comfort in knowing that their Marine serving in harm’s way will be supported with the most advanced technology.”