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Goodbye Edwards, hello Nellis

An F-35 pilot prepares for flight at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 7. Six F-35s recently left Edwards and were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, following the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron’s completion of the F-35’s initial operational test and evaluation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

An F-35 pilot prepares for flight at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 7. Six F-35s recently left Edwards and were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, following the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron’s completion of the F-35’s initial operational test and evaluation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

An F-35 Lightning II is parked prior to its final flight out of Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 7. Six F-35s recently left Edwards and were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

An F-35 Lightning II is parked prior to its final flight out of Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 7. Six F-35s recently left Edwards and were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

A formation flight of F-35 Lightning IIs over Edwards Air Force Base, California. The 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Included in the formation are two F-35As, two F-35Bs, and one F-35C. (Photo courtesy of Darin Russell, Lockheed Martin)

A formation flight of F-35 Lightning IIs over Edwards Air Force Base, California. The 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Included in the formation are two F-35As, two F-35Bs, and one F-35C. (Photo courtesy of Darin Russell, Lockheed Martin)

A formation flight of F-35 Lightning IIs over Edwards Air Force Base, California. The 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (Photo courtesy of Darin Russell, Lockheed Martin)

A formation flight of F-35 Lightning IIs over Edwards Air Force Base, California. The 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (Photo courtesy of Darin Russell, Lockheed Martin)

Airman 1st Class Dakota Smith, Assistant Dedicated Crew Chief, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, stands by as an F-35 Lightning II prepares to take off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, for the final time, Oct. 7. The 31st TES recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Airman 1st Class Dakota Smith, Assistant Dedicated Crew Chief, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, stands by as an F-35 Lightning II prepares to take off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, for the final time, Oct. 7. The 31st TES recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Airman 1st Class Dakota Smith, Assistant Dedicated Crew Chief, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, prepares an F-35 Lightning II for take off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, for the final time, Oct. 7. The 31st TES recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Airman 1st Class Dakota Smith, Assistant Dedicated Crew Chief, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, prepares an F-35 Lightning II for take off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, for the final time, Oct. 7. The 31st TES recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Capt. Ian Myles, F-35 Aircraft Maintenance Unit Officer-in-Charge , 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, stands by as an F-35 Lightning II, prepares to take off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, for the final time, Oct. 7. The 31st TES recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Capt. Ian Myles, F-35 Aircraft Maintenance Unit Officer-in-Charge , 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, stands by as an F-35 Lightning II, prepares to take off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, for the final time, Oct. 7. The 31st TES recently completed its initial operational test and evaluation mission and six F-35s were reassigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Edwards Air Force Base, California, said farewell to six of its F-35 Lightning II’s in October. The F-35s were transferred to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to continue initial operational testing.

The 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, a tenant unit at Edwards, recently completed their portion of the mission of conducting initial operational evaluation tests of the aircraft. The 31st TES, whose parent unit is the 53rd Wing out of Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, served as part of the F-35 Joint Operational Test Team.

“The F-35 will continue through its operational test program,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Thulin, 31st TES Commander. “We consolidated the fleets at Nellis, so they can launch operationally relevant numbers of instrumented airplanes.”

Completing IOT&E allows for the Full Rate Production (FRP) decision to be made and leads into the production and fielding of more F-35s. The six F-35s is now assigned to the 422nd TES at Nellis. Following the F-35 movement, the 31st TES will continue to work on, or provide support for other test programs, Thulin said.

“We will continue to do operational test of our legacy bomber programs as well as our C2ISR (Command and Control and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) operational test and we’ll posture up for follow-on programs,” Thulin said.

Thulin said the squadron’s success could be attributed to the people that make up the 31st.

“I can’t say enough about the 31st TES members,” he said. “The maintainers, the operators, and the engineers that make up our squadron are the finest group of Americans I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.”Edwards Air Force Base, California, said farewell to six of its F-35 Lightning II’s in October. The F-35s were transferred to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to continue initial operational testing.


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