YUMA, Ariz., Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- MARINE CORPS AIR STATION -- Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), joined today with other industry partners to celebrate and offer congratulations to the United States Marine Corps for the official stand-up and re-designation of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the world's first operational squadron to fly the F-35B Lightning II aircraft.
During a ceremony today at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., representatives from Pratt & Whitney joined with esteemed aviation painter Keith Ferris, and his wife, Peggy, to present to the Marine Corps Ferris' painting "High Tide at Red Beach," which depicts the F-35B flying over the skies of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
"Hundreds of thousands of Marines have participated in amphibious landing and aviation training exercises at Red Beach on the Camp Pendleton complex, and many of them would instantly recognize that setting, which is wholly unique to the Marine Corps experience," said Ferris. "This painting captures the expeditionary and amphibious character of the Marine Corps, and the role of Marine Tactical Aviation in supporting the Marine on the ground. It was a delight to paint, and an even greater honor to present it to the Commandant of the Marine Corps on this historic occasion."
"This is yet another historic achievement for the F-35 program, and for the F-35B in particular," said Bennett Croswell, president, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines. "Just over a year ago, two F-35B aircraft accomplished their 'first ever' sea-based short take offs and vertical landings during trials aboard the USS Wasp, demonstrating to our STOVL customers the unique capabilities of the F135 STOVL propulsion system. Now we're celebrating another first for the program – the arrival of the first operational F-35B to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, and the beginning of a new fifth generation fighter era for the Green Knights of VMFA-121."The F-35B, a short takeoff and vertical landing multi-role fighter, is slated to replace the Marine Corps' F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier and EA-6B Prowler. The F-35B's propulsion system, powered by Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine and the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem, allows the aircraft to operate from expeditionary airfields in remote, non-permissive environments with shorter runways, as well as amphibious vessels, contributing to the Marine Corps' role as the nation's expeditionary force-in-readiness.