USAF is reactivating the 65th Aggressor Squadron and moving 11 F-35A Lightning IIs to Nellis AFB as part of a larger initiative to improve training for fifth generation fighter aircraft.
Drawn by aviation artist and USAF veteran Sean Hampton (check out his website AfterburnerProfiles.com for more cool aviation prints), the artistic renderings in this post show current Aggressor camouflage schemes applied to the F-35.
“I was asked to put together a couple of potential F-35 Aggressor schemes for Nellis AFB freshly reactivated 65th AGRS [which is about to stand up with the F-35] by a third party. They were primarily looking for a Splinter scheme. I decided to draw the other schemes as a way of showcasing the different possibilities,” Hampton said to The Aviation Geek Club.
“While there has been more schemes drawn and submitted, I felt like releasing these schemes as they were already in use on the F-16s. After making the paint shop 4 views, I couldn’t help but create some profiles. These are by no means an “official release” or endorsement by the USAF. Merely artistic suggestions. They will make their choices and modifications and release at a later date sometime next year.”
“The 18th AGRS at Eielson has no plans to convert to the F-35 currently. I just threw those designs in there because I liked them,” Hampton points out.
As we have explained last year, the US Air Force (USAF) is reactivating the 65th Aggressor Squadron and moving 11 F-35A Lightning IIs to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, as part of a larger initiative to improve training for fifth generation fighter aircraft.
The action came after Gen. Mike Holmes, former Air Combat Command commander, recommended improving training for fifth generation fighter tactics development and close-air support by adding F-35s to complement the fourth generation aircraft currently being used.
To support this requirement, the USAF decided to create a fifth generation aggressor squadron at Nellis AFB and move nine non-combat capable F-35A aircraft from Eglin AFB, Florida, to the squadron. Aircraft transferring from Eglin AFB to Nellis AFB will not occur until newly produced aircraft arrive at Eglin AFB to replace them. New aircraft are planned to arrive at Nellis AFB beginning in early 2022.
The Air Force will also assign two F-35A aircraft from Edwards AFB, California, to Nellis AFB to join the 24th Tactical Air Support Squadron. The 24th TASS is an F-16 Fighting Falcon squadron whose primary function is supporting and performing close-air support training. Introducing the F-35As from Edwards AFB will allow additional training for the F-35As as close-air support assets.
The 65th AS, which previously flew F-15 Eagle aircraft, was inactivated in September 2014.