“The Lightning’s European deployment is another great opportunity to exercise the capabilities of this aircraft. Our strength is the ability to project our power globally and rapidly,” Gen. Mike Holmes, ACC Commander
Taken on May 2, 2017 the beautiful pictures in this post show U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-35 Lightning II’s from Hill Air Force Base (AFB), Utah, fly in formation and alongside a 100th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker during a training sortie of their first-ever deployment to Europe.
As we have already reported, the Apr. 15 arrival at Royal Air Force (RAF) Base Lakenheath, U.K., marked the first major overseas training deployment for the aircraft and began several weeks of training for F-35 pilots, maintainers and support personnel with allied and partner nations.
“As the first operational F-35 unit in the Air Force, our Airmen have been working tirelessly – from the achievement of initial operational capability to our deployment to Red Flag,” said Col. David Lyons, 388th Fighter Wing commander in a USAF news release. “We continue to prove the unique capabilities of this revolutionary aircraft, and this first overseas deployment is a natural step in the program.”
“A large part of ensuring air dominance in the future will involve integrating operations between platforms and across all coalition partners,” he added. “The F-35A is on the leading edge of that interoperability. We’re excited to demonstrate those capabilities as well as our commitment to our European allies and partners.”
“The Lightning’s European deployment is another great opportunity to exercise the capabilities of this aircraft and conduct valuable training alongside our allies,” said Gen. Mike Holmes, Commander of Air Combat Command (ACC), the major command responsible for organizing, training and equipping the F-35A fleet. “As we’ve proven with the F-22 Raptor and routinely with our fourth-generation fleet, our strength is the ability to project our power globally and rapidly.”
The F-35A is the latest addition to ACC’s deployable fifth-generation fleet. The aircraft offers air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and close air support (CAS) capabilities, as well as advanced tactical command and control functions through the use of fused sensors, which provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace.
Photo credit: Senior Airman Christine Groening and Senior Airman Justine Rho / U.S. Air Force