The 4th Fighter Squadron and 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit of the US Air Force’s (USAF) 388th Fighter Wing have successfully concluded a combat exercise.
The exercise was conducted to test and assess the capabilities of the two units to operate the F-35A Lightning II fighter jet in a deployed environment.
During the event, both units focused on combat operations and tactical scenarios such as aircraft battle damage, downed-pilot recovery and fighting in an environment with limited or no communications.
USAF 4th Fighter Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Yosef Morris said: “The tempo gives our airmen a taste of deployed operations.
“We want the first time they see these things to be in a training environment, and not when we’re called upon to deploy during a contingency.”
During the combat exercise, participants from the 388th Fighter Wing carried out approximately 150 sorties in two weeks, in addition to conducting normal flying operations.
USAF maintainers practised loading a number of munitions and preparing aircraft sorties.
Furthermore, the two units operated and launched fighter jets from alternate locations.
They also conducted a range of operations out of a secure deployable facility that houses mission planning, debrief, intelligence, and the Autonomic Logistics Information System, which is a programme designed to support USAF operations, maintenance and planning.
As the conventional take-off and landing variant, the F-35A fighter aircraft has been built by Lockheed Martin as a platform that combines stealth, sensor fusion and enhanced situational awareness.
The aircraft will replace the USAF’s ageing fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II jets.