The Lockheed F-35 is an advanced stealth fifth generation fighter combining speed and superb
agility. There are three variants; F-35A, B and C. The F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off and
Landing) and has four internal weapons stations in two weapons bays plus three optional
external weapons stations. The F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant while the
F-35C is a CV (Carrier Variant). The F-35 will replace the USAF A-10 and F-16, the F/A-18 for the
USN and the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the USMC.
Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT-501) “Warlords” was formed in April 2010 at
Eglin AFB, Florida as a Fleet Replacement Squadron administratively under Marine Aircraft
Group but operationally under the 33rd Fighter Wing that controls USAF and USN F-35 training.
On July 17, 2014 VMFAT-501 began the transfer of their aircraft to Beaufort, South Carolina with
F-35B 168067 c/n BF-06 VM-01 being the first to arrive. Official training began October 1, 2014
with the Marines declaring the F-35B IOC (Initial Operational Capability) in July 2015.