The F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft and personnel from the US Air Force’s (USAF) 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS) practised adaptive basing methodology.
USAF 4th EFS is assigned to Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE, and is on temporary deployment to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing in south-west Asia.
The adaptive basing methodology was practised during Exercise Agile Lightning, which was conducted between 4 and 7 August.
USAF 4th EFS commander lieutenant colonel Joshua Arki said: “Exercise Agile Lightning is a demonstration of the agile basing concepts practised by airforce fighter squadrons from their home bases.
“The ‘Fightin’ Fuujins’ of the 4th EFS successfully deployed a small detachment of aircraft and personnel to a forward location, supporting combat operations from that location for a given period of time and then re-deployed back to our primary operating location.”
Adaptive basing exercises involve small teams of airmen and aircraft from all levels of the squadron.
Exercise Agile Lightning marked the first adaptive basing methodology exercise for the F-35A aircraft in the US Central Command area of responsibility.
Arki added: “By executing the adaptive basing concepts we have only practised at home until now, we increased the readiness, survivability and lethality of the F-35A in a combat theatre.
“The Agile Lightning team worked hard to coordinate with multiple bases and across US Air Force core disciplines such as logistics, munitions, force support, communications, air mobility, Combined Air Operations Center staff, etc to ensure mission success.”
Adaptive basing methodology allows aircraft to adapt and respond to the unpredictable operational environment during untethered operations.
The airforce stated that the methodology is still in its early stage.
The approach will allow the service to defend US and partner interests from almost anywhere in the world within a short span of time.