• The Vermont Air National Guard has new F-35 jets
  • This is the first ANG unit to have them
  • Their total loadout will be 20 aircraft by the end of 2020

The Vermont Air National Guard (ANG), has become the first unit to get the much-anticipated F-35. The arrival of the sleek-looking fighter jets set the stage for a new era.

Pilots of the Vermont ANG unit flew the two new planes from Fort Worth to the Vermont Air National Guard Base. The planes were piloted by members of the 135th Fighter Squadron and were praised by the Vice Commander of the 158th Fighter of the Vermont Air National Guard, Colonel Adam Rice. He applauded their ability to fly the aircraft and said it was a proud moment for the unit.

A source with the unit tells International Business Times that they have been training and waiting for this day for a long time. The unit will be cycling out their old aircraft to make room for the next arrivals very soon.

F-35A A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II taxis down the flightline before taking off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 24, 2019. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Chris Drzazgowski

The F-35 Lightning II is the most recent model of the famed Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets. The aircraft is an all-weather stealth multirole fighter jet (unlike the F-22, which is an air superiority jet only), with a single F135 engine. The planes are manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp. and are scheduled to be distributed until 2037 to the U.S. military.

According to a report by Defense Blog, The Vermont Air National Guard will get a total of 20 planes, all expected to be at the base by the summer of 2020. Other than the Air force, the Navy and Marines will all get F-35 jets, as the U.S. continues to bolster its military fleet that is full of aging aircraft.

The Adjudant General of the Vermont Air National Guard, Brigadier General Greg Knight, was also quick to praise the pilots of the guard, citing their dedication to their mission, as one of their main strengths. It certainly is a new day for the Vermont Guard and a very distinctive one that alluded to their courage and desire to serve.

The government has been very tight-lipped about the distribution if the fighter jets but has no doubt signaled its commitment to these deliveries. The F-35 Lightning II has a projected life span that goes up to 2070.