USAF 388th Fighter Wing units complete F-35A combat exercise

7 November 2018 (Last Updated November 7th, 2018 10:21)

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.

USAF 388th Fighter Wing units complete F-35A combat exercise
Three F-35A Lightning II jets assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron conduct flight training operations. Credit: USAF / Staff Sgt Andrew Lee.

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.”

“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.”

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.