Air National Guard officials in a statement emphasized the F-35As were not attached to the Vermont Air National Guard or 158th Fighter Wing — those jets are expected to arrive in September.
As the video in this post shows, four F-35As assigned to Hill Air Force Base (AFB) were forced to divert to Burlington International Airport on May 29 for an unplanned landing due to weather and refueling issues, WCAX reports.
Vermont Air National Guard officials say the F-35As from Hill Air Force Base in Utah landed about 7:45 a.m. They were on their way to an overseas mission when they were forced to change plans.
“They were diverted because of fuel. They hook up with air fuelers in the air and were not able to make their connection so they stopped here in Burlington for that purpose,” said Burlington Airport Director Gene Richards.
Guard officials in a statement emphasized the jets were not attached to the Vermont Air National Guard or 158th Fighter Wing — those jets are expected to arrive in September. They also said public viewing of the aircraft was not allowed for security reasons.
The U.S. Air Force has deployed one squadron of F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, Airmen, and associated equipment to Aviano Air Base, Italy, from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings, at Hill AFB, Utah, to participate in exercises and conduct training with other Europe-based aircraft as part of a Theater Security Package.
Funded through the European Deterrence Initiative, the TSP provides a more robust U.S. military rotational presence in the European theater capable of deterring adversaries and assuring partners and allies of U.S. commitment to regional security. The F-35s and members of the 421st and 466th Fighter Squadrons arrived at Aviano today and will remain in Europe for several weeks.
The 388th FW is the Air Force’s first combat-coded, or operational, F-35A unit. This is their second deployment to Europe. The first was the 34th Fighter Squadron deployment to RAF Lakenheath, England, in April 2017. The 421st FS is the newest F-35A squadron, and this is their first deployment with the multi-role stealth fighter.