A group of U.S. Air Force maintainers and pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base has deployed a Lockheed Martin-built F-35A to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada for an air-to-air combat training exercise.
The service branch said Monday its F-35A pilots will fly the aircraft alongside other fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft platforms as part of the Red Flag exercise to demonstrate defensive and offensive counter air, enemy defense suppression and limited close air support tasks.
The conventional takeoff-and-landing jet was declared by Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of the Air Combat Command, as combat ready in August 2016 after the aircraft met initial operational capability requirements.
“Our Reserve pilots and maintainers are looking forward to putting the F-35A weapon system to the test alongside our active duty partners,” said Col. David Smith, commander of the 419th Flight Wing.
Red Flag offers experience on multiple, intensive air combat sorties to the service branch’s aircrews while in the safety of a controlled training environment.