US Air Force’s (USAF) 61st Fighter Training Squadron (FTS ) and 2nd Fighter Squadron (FS) have conducted the F-35A student pilots’ basic course capstone training exercise.

The complex combat training was carried out from 12 to 23 September.

Intended to prepare for future operations, the event saw the F-35A Lightning II student pilots train in a complex simulated scenario away from their home station.

As part of this training, both squadrons travelled to Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) in Idaho to practise with the student pilots.

2nd FTS is assigned under 325th Fighter Wing (FW ) and operates from Eglin AFB, Florida, while the 61st FS operates from Luke AFB, Arizona.

The training involved student pilots flying blue-coloured aircraft while the course instructors and trainers used red assets, signifying threats.

During this exercise, the 2nd FTS primarily focused on adversary air replication, using the T-38A trainer aircraft.

The inclusion of the T-38A Talon provided a diverse aerial environment for F-35A students and instructors.

At the end of the exercise, 61st FS completed training for six B-course students along with concluding instructor pilot upgrades work for four pilots.

Furthermore, the deployment also honed the existing skill sets of the 2nd FTS as fighter pilots.

2nd FTS commander lieutenant colonel Brent Blandino said: “The 2nd FTS is composed of a number of pilots straight from pilot training.

“These pilots are assigned to fly as adversary pilots for a two-year assignment before going to their own B-course where they will experience exact scenarios they are supporting, except from other perspectives.

“This training is focused on the students in B-course but the exposure to our young pilots is invaluable.”