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USAF Concludes 1st F-35A Flight Training Deployment in Europe

U.S. Air Force pilots from the 34th Fighter Squadron and supporting units from Hill Air Force Base in Utah flew eight F-35As at a military air base near Lakenheath, England, as part of the aircraft’s first training deployment to Europe.

The service branch said Monday that the squadron performed approximately 76 sorties throughout more than 154 flying hours alongside F-15 aircraft flown by pilots from the 48th Fighter Wing.

The F-35A aircraft also forward deployed to Bulgaria and Estonia in efforts to maximize training opportunities and establish partnerships with allied air forces as well as familiarize the pilots with Europe’s diverse operating conditions.

“This exercise provided our pilots with the opportunity to practice working together to solve complex tactical scenarios using integrated operations that optimized both the F-35 and F-15’s capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, commander of the 493rd Fighter Squadron.

“This deployment was a great opportunity for the 34th FS and the 48th FW to practice 4th and 5th generation fighter integration tactics.”

The Air Force’s active-duty 388th and reserve 419th Fighter Wings began joint training exercises at the Lakenheath facility in April, which included basic fighter maneuvers and air combat maneuvers performed alongside the U.K. air force and other NATO allies.

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