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Utah, the U.S. Air Force and corporate officials held a ceremony Friday to mark the beginning of Hill Air Force Base's new assignment to maintain F-35 stealth fighter jets.

The first F-35 arrived at Hill earlier this week from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The maintenance work is to be conducted under a public-private partnership with Lockheed Martin and the Ogden Air Logistics Complex. The Air Force and Lockheed have estimated the fighter work is tied directly and indirectly to more than 1,000 jobs in Utah and contributes tens of millions to the economy.

The F-35 Lightning II combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, an Air Force news release said. It will eventually replace the A-10 and F-16 for the Air Force, the F/A-18 for the Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 10 other countries.

Among those at the ceremony were Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch; Rear Adm. Randolph Mahr, deputy program director for the F-35; Maj. Gen. H. Brent Baker, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander; Air Force Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield; and Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin's executive vice president.

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