The Air Force likely will not have its first unit of combat-ready F-35 strike fighters available until late in calendar year 2015, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told reporters in Washington, D.C. March 2, 2010. Prior to the F-35 program restructure announced in February 2010, the Air Force anticipated having its first operational F-35 unit in place in Fiscal 2013. Donley said the two-year-plus delay is the "latest and best estimate" that the service now has. Here, AF-1, the first weight-optimized F-35A test aircraft, enters the flightline as it prepares for its maiden voyage, Nov. 14, 2009.
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