Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort preps for F-35 Lightning II - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort preps for new F-35

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BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) -

The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort may have taken a few hits this year because of the automatic spending cuts, but they are still in line to receive the next generation fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning II.

According to the air station, the F-35 is a lot more user friendly than previous generation fighter jets, which makes it easier to train inexperienced pilots.

According to Stormy Boudreaux, a Lockheed Martin systems engineer, the new jet makes it possible for pilots to worry about the combat mission and getting the enemy, rather than focusing on driving it.

"This has a lot of little bells and whistle in it that allows it to be able to fly very nicely and easily," he said. "Pilots can think about how to be a tactician with the weapons and stuff that he has."

One of the neat new features in the jet is the touch screen, which gives the pilot the ability to drop bombs on the enemy with one tap.

The air station currently uses the F-18, fourth-generation fighter jet for combat. They say it's time for an upgrade.

"The F-35 continues to allow the Marine Corps to exercise and be that expeditionary force and readiness," said Capt. Jordan Cochran, public information officer for the air station. "It's short takeoff, Vertical landing capabilities allow us to land and take off of ships."

The air station is in the final stages of getting the base ready for the F-35. They say the hanger for the jet is still being built. They expect to have the F-35 on base next year.

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