Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans --
Personnel and F-35 Lightning II fighter jets with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), deployed from Beaufort, S.C. to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Louisiana, for training, Oct. 21 – Nov. 8.
VMFAT-501 deployed 12 F-35 Lightning II jets and personnel to NAS JRB New Orleans to increase entry-level pilots' proficiency in offensive-air support, electronic warfare, and routine flight operations for their future fleet assignments. The mission of the squadron is to conduct combat-capable, network-enabled training to create qualified F-35 pilots.
The F-35 is a fifth-generation fighter jet with advanced stealth, agility and maneuverability, and provides the pilot with real-time access to battlespace information. It is designed to meet an advanced threat, while improving lethality, survivability, and supportability.
The F-35 represents the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation and will eventually replace the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler in all units across the Marine Corps. In addition to its short-takeoff and vertical-landing capability, the F-35B provides advanced technology and incorporates the mission capabilities of the current Marine Corps platforms—the AV-8B Harrier and F/A-18 Hornet—within a single airframe.
VMFAT-501 is a subordinate unit of 2nd MAW, the aviation combat element of II Marine Expeditionary Force.