USAF F-35A Lightning II, 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing, 16 May 2013, by John Nimmo [800px]

US Air Force Sends F-35As to Europe

The U.S. Air Force will deploy a small number of F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft this weekend on a long-planned training deployment to Europe, Pentagon officials announced Friday, April 14.

The aircraft are scheduled to conduct training with other U.S. and NATO aircraft based in Europe for several weeks as part of the European Reassurance Initiative (Operation Atlantic Resolve).

This training deployment signifies an important milestone and natural progression of the F-35 program, officials said, and will allow the Air Force to further demonstrate the operational capabilities of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft. It also assists in refining requirements for eventually basing the F-35A in Europe, which is scheduled to receive the aircraft in the early 2020s.

Once the aircraft arrive in Europe, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. European Command will release additional information as it becomes available about the F-35A’s training deployment.

The F-35A is a fifth generation fighter that provides the joint warfighter unprecedented global precision attack capability against current and emerging threats, while complementing the Air Force’s air superiority fleet. The F-35A is a multi-role precision attack fighter with unmatched lethality, survivability, and interoperability.

The UK (RAF and Royal Navy) currently has 4 F-35Bs in use for testing; another 14 on order, with 42 (24 FOC fighters and 18 training aircraft) to be fast-tracked by 2023. A total of 138 F-35s are planned.

Source: US Department of Defense; USAF Press Release.

Leave a Reply