Military Aviation

Hill AFB F-35A Lighting II Stealth Fighters conduct massive Elephant Walk

A little more than four years after receiving their first combat-coded F-35A Lightning II aircraft, Hill’s fighter wings have achieved full warfighting capability.

The active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings conducted an F-35A Combat Power Exercise with 52 aircraft at Hill Air Force Base (AFB), Utah, Jan. 6, 2020. The exercise, which was planned for months, demonstrated their ability to employ a large force of F-35As – testing readiness in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, flight operations, and combat capability against air and ground targets.

The drill also included a typical “elephant walk,” the first ever for the F-35.

The primary mission of the 388th Fighter Wing is to maintain combat readiness to deploy, employ, and sustain F-35A Lightning II aircraft worldwide in support of the national defense. The 419th Fighter Wing instead is Utah’s only Air Force Reserve unit. The unit offer a diverse range of combat capability to include operations and maintenance on the Air Force’s newest fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning II.

A little more than four years after receiving their first combat-coded F-35A Lightning II aircraft, Hill’s fighter wings have achieved full warfighting capability.

As we have recently explained in fact fighter wings at Hill Air Force Base (AFB) received their final F-35A Lightning II on Dec. 17, 2019. The delivery brings the total number of aircraft at the installation to 78.

The 388th FW’s three squadrons, the 4th, 34th and 421st Fighter Squadrons, now each have 24 primary assigned aircraft with six backup aircraft. The 419th FW’s 466th FS also supports routine F-35 operations side by side with the active-duty squadrons.

Hill AFB was chosen to be the home of the Air Force’s first F-35A units because of the Total Force partnership of the 388th and 419th FWs, its proximity to the Utah Test and Training Range, the Ogden Air Logistics Complex and the base’s weather, zoning and air space.

The operational F-35A mission at Hill AFB added more than 400 personnel and generated an estimated $47 million to the local economy annually.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw

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.

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