Congress Blocked USAF’s plan to form F-35A Aggressor Squadron

Congress Blocked USAF’s plan to form F-35A Aggressor Squadron

By Dario Leone
Dec 18 2019
Share this article

The Congress has added language in the next defense budget to stop USAF from transferring nine non-combat capable F-35As from Eglin AFB to Nellis to standup the 65th Aggressor Squadron.

The U.S. Congress has added language in the next defense budget to stop the U.S. Air Force (USAF) from transferring nine non-combat capable F-35As from Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) to Nellis to standup the 65th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS).

According to Air Force Magazine, before the service can proceed, Gen. David Goldfein must report to Congress on:

“Potential locations for F-35 aggressors, including an analysis of installations that have the size and availability of airspace necessary to meet flying operations requirements; have sufficient capacity and availability of range space; are capable of hosting advanced threat training exercises; and meet or require minimal addition to the environmental requirements associated with the basing action.”

An analysis of the costs and timelines associated with expanding and modernizing existing USAF aggressor squadrons, to include “upgrading aircraft radar, infrared search-and-track systems, radar warning receiver, tactical datalink, threat representation jamming pods, and other upgrades necessary to provide a realistic advanced adversary threat.” 

“It is critical that the Air Force has the capability to train against an advanced air adversary in order to be prepared for conflicts against a modern enemy force, and that in order to have this capability, the Air Force must have access to an advanced adversary force prior to United States adversaries fielding a 5th-generation operational capability; and the Air Force’s plan to use low-rate initial production F-35As as aggressor aircraft reflects a recognition of the need to field a modernized aggressor fleet,” according to the policy conference report released on Dec. 9. 

The 65th AGRS, which previously flew F-15s as aggressors, was inactivated in 2014 due to budget cuts.

The service also wants to move two more F-35s from Edwards AFB, Calif, to the 24th Tactical Air Support Squadron at Nellis for additional close air support training.

The USAF has two aggressor squadrons, one at Nellis AFB, Nev., and one at Eielson AFB, Alaska. Both fly F-16s.

Congressional emphasis on improving organic USAF aggressors comes as the Air Force also looks to bolster the role of contracted Red Air under a potential $6.4 billion multi-award contract. In October, USAF awarded seven companies an indefinite-delivery, indefinite quantity contract, allowing them to vie for task orders at up to 22 locations, including as many as 12 for adversary air and 10 for contract CAS. 

Congress Blocked USAF’s plan to form F-35A Aggressor Squadron
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Share this article

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this article

Share this article
Share this article

Always up to date! News and offers delivered directly to you!

Get the best aviation news, stories and features from The Aviation Geek Club in our newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Error: Contact form not found.

Share this article
Back to top
My Agile Privacy
This website uses technical and profiling cookies. Clicking on "Accept" authorises all profiling cookies. Clicking on "Refuse" or the X will refuse all profiling cookies. By clicking on "Customise" you can select which profiling cookies to activate. In addition, this site installs Google Analytics in version 4 (GA4) with anonymous data transmission via proxy. By giving your consent, the data will be sent anonymously, thus protecting your privacy. We and our selected ad partners can store and/or access information on your device, such as cookies, unique identifiers, browsing data. You can always choose the specific purposes related to profiling by accessing the advertising preferences panel, and you can always withdraw your consent at any time by clicking on "Manage consent" at the bottom of the page.

List of some possible advertising permissions:

You can consult: our list of advertising partners, the Cookie Policy and the Privacy Policy.
Warning: some page functionalities could not work due to your privacy choices