F-35 arrives at Luke Air Force Base - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

F-35 arrives at Luke Air Force Base

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GLENDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

Monday was a historic day for Luke Air Force Base. The highly-anticipated F-35 fighter aircraft arrived amid much fanfare.

After a smooth landing, the jet taxied down the runway, where it was greeted by an excited crowd.

"This is a day that has been a long time coming. It's the result of many years of work by a countless number of people in the military and the community," said Col. John Hanna.

This is the first of 144 F-35s that will eventually be assigned to Luke Air Force Base. The F-35 is intended to be the premiere strike aircraft for the Air Force through the first half of the 21st Century.

The jet is expected to phase out the service's aging F-16s and A-10s. According to Hanna, as other military bases across the country worried about closing down, the F-35 secures Luke's future, and will create up to 700 jobs at the base.

"Having F-35s here on the ramp ensures the long-term viability of our mission and safeguards the long-term presence of the base as a community partner and economic engine for the west valley," said Hanna.

Not to mention, they're really cool.

"The jet has a lot of get-up and go. It likes to fly so it's quite exhilarating to fly the F-35," said pilot Mark Ebner.

"It was a really great experience to come out and see the next generation of fighter jets to come in and take the place of the old ones," said spectator Jacob Ellison.

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