Pilots of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will see a reduction in the weight of their helmets as the program office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base works to make them safer. These two F-35s visited the the Vectren Dayton Air Show. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

F-35 to make flying debut at Dayton Air Show

The F-35A Lightning II will fly in tandem with a World War II P-51 Mustang in a “heritage flight” at the air show June 24 and 25.

RELATED: F-35 to make debut at Dayton Air Show

Two F-35s made a debut at the Dayton Air Show last year but stayed on the ground as a static display at Dayton International Airport.

“We’re a real popular show with the Air Force,” said Terry Grevious, air show executive director. The jet’s appearance “is really big, and I think it’s particularly big for Dayton being the birthplace of aviation, this is the latest and greatest.”

RELATED: Air Force declares controversial stealth jet ready for combat

In development for 15 years, the jet has made headlines over the years for a series of technical delays and as the most expensive weapons program in U.S. history reaching an estimated price tag of $379 billion to purchase 2,443 and three versions of the aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The Air Force declared the jet combat ready late last year.

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump put the jet under heightened scrutiny over its costs.

The F-35A at this year’s Dayton Air Show will fly in from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., organizers said.

“Wright-Patt is a big player in the community obviously and I think this helps our cause when we make these types of requests,” Grevious said.

The Air Force Thunderbirds are scheduled to highlight the 43rd annual show.

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