U.S. Senator Kay Hagan joined military leaders and a few hundred Cherry Point employees at an induction ceremony for the first F-35B Lightning II at MCAS Cherry Point.

The F-35B is the world’s first supersonic short takeoff/vertical landing aircraft, and is considered the future of Marine Corp. aviation.

The aircraft was flown in from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida last week. It’s the first of sixteen that will be brought to Fleet Readiness Center for maintenance.

Hagan said besides the benefits to our military, the aircraft will also provide an economic boost for our region.

“Those modifications are going to be done right here, with our technicians, with our employees,” Hagan said.

Hagan was joined by Deputy Commandant for Aviation, Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr., and Acting Fleet Readiness Center Commander Dennis West.

The Marine Corp. plans to deploy the first squadron of F-35B’s to japan in the summer of 2017.