USMC Conducts 1st “Elephant Walk” 20 F-35B MCAS Beaufort

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Unread post06 May 2019, 21:34

U.S. Marine Corps Conducts First “Elephant Walk” With 20 F-35B Jets At Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

"The F-35B’s “Elephant Walk” was part of a readiness exercise. On May 1, 2019, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 conducted a readiness exercise with of 20 F-35B Lightning II aircraft aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina....

...During Elephant Walk exercises military aircraft (usually fully armed – but in the case of the F-35, the aircraft might carry some air-to-air missiles and bombs inside the weapons bays) taxi in close formation or in sequence right before a minimum interval takeoff and, depending on the purpose of the training event they then either take off or taxi back to the apron. The first such drills involving an F-35 of any variant took place in November 2018 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, but this was the first time the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the Lightning II took part in an “Elephant Walk”.

VMAT 501 is a training squadron reportedly equipped with 20 F-35B Lightning II aircraft and serves as the Fleet Replacement Squadron. Known as the “Warlords,” the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina since 2014, and falls administratively under Marine Aircraft Group 31 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. If the number of aircraft assigned to the unit is confirmed, it means that all the F-35s assigned to the “Warlords” took part in the readiness drills.

Noteworthy, the photos released by the U.S. Marine Corps show that also the first Italian Navy F-35B and a British Lightning took part in the Elephant Walk...."

Photo: "Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 conducts a readiness exercise comprised of 20 F-35B Lightning II aircraft aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, May 1. The safe launch and recovery of the aircraft, affirms the squadron’s commitment to achieving and sustaining the highest level of readiness in order to train the next generation of F-35B pilots from the U.S. Marine Corps and partner nations." ... lk-top.jpg

Source: ... -beaufort/
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Unread post09 May 2019, 21:27

RAF OC207Sqn F-35 pilots Scott Williams by person himself account comment.
Scott Williams@scottmox
As work goes, last week was fantastic. Single squadron successfully launched and recovered 20 F35B (US and UK) on a variety of training missions. No spares used; every jet was ‘up and ready’, on time.

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