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F-35 program moves forward
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE -- The F-35 program continues to move forward, with thirteen more jets expected to arrive at Eglin Air Force Base this year.
Those jets will contain a major software upgrade.
The first F-35 with the new software landed this week.
This is a planned step in the development of the F-35 to give pilots a view of the airspace they've never had before.
The F-35 is designed for supersonic speed and maximum ability to hide from enemy radar.
Returning from a training flight, Colonel Steve Jost says another edge in the fight is built into the skin of the plane.
"The aircraft has lots of sensors all over it, kind of like cameras, TV cameras that can see in every direction"
Colonel Jost says a process called fusion is unique to the F-35 bringing all the images together for a 360 degree view of the airspace around the jet.
"It's almost like kinda flying the wonder woman jet, when it's invisible, and you can see in every direction and have that displayed inside the cockpit"
Now that the first jet with the new software has arrived, maintainers like Staff Sergeant John Accurso will be working with the upgrade.
SSGT Accurso "I'd probably compare it to the iPhone-5 coming out. It's going to be a new challenge for all the pilots, us maintainers as well"
It's a challenge he's looking forward to.
Sergeant Accurso volunteered for the F-35 program after working with the Thunderbirds.
He says the F-35 is the future, and he wants to be part of it.
SSGT Accurso "No it's not just a job. These pilots that fly these jets take their life in our hands every day"