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F-35 cockpit demonstrator put on display for Hawaii officials

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    Gary Kai, executive director of the Hawaii Business Roundtable, tried out the F-35 Lightning II mobile cockpit demonstrator with the help of Gary Hentz from Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin showed off its F-35 Lightning II mobile cockpit demonstrator to Hawaii military representatives last week and business members and elected officials Tuesday as the newest stealth fighter gets closer to operational capability, and eventually, a big role in the Pacific.

The cockpit demonstrator was at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam last week for Hawaii-based commands to check out, including U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pacific Air Forces and Marine Corps Forces Pacific, officials said.

“We’re pleased to demonstrate to elected officials and community leaders in Hawaii the capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II, the most advanced fighter jet in the world,” Eric Van Camp, director of F-35 business development for Lockheed Martin said of Tuesday’s event.

“Hawaii is home to the U.S. Pacific Command and with its strategic location plays a significant role in our military strategy,” Van Camp said in a release. “The F-35 provides our forces with the next generation capabilities they must have in today’s complex global security environment.”

Three variants of the airplane that’s been labeled the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons system have been developed for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

According to the website defensetech, the Marine Corps short-takeoff and vertical landing version, the F-35B, is scheduled to reach initial operating capability this year, followed by the Air Force’s conventional-takeoff F-35A in 2016, and the Navy aircraft carrier variant, the F-35C, in 2019.

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