The US Air Force (USAF) has completed four-ship combat training missions with F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft at the Utah Test and Training Range.
The four F-35s, based out of Hill Air Force Base (AFB), helped active-duty and reserve pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings (FW) to detect and jam enemy radar and identify and destroy targets from roughly 40,000ft.
Using the aircraft’s computer network, pilots could avoid a series of simulated threats.
419th Operations Group Detachment 1 commander lieutenant colonel Curtis Pitts said: "The F-35 gives us the ability to access enemy airspace like never before.
"The F-35 is a giant leap in technology and offers a significant air superiority advantage in high-threat areas."
In March, the 34th FS flew their first four-ship flights during two days of surge operations to test the ability of F-35 maintenance troops to get aircraft off the ramp and into the skies quickly.
They generated 16 sorties with zero maintenance discrepancies.
The USAF’s first operational F-35 arrived at Hill AFB in September last year.
The base will be home to three operational F-35 fighter squadrons with a total of 78 aircraft by the end of 2019.
The 388th and 419th FWs fly and maintain the USAF’s new fighter aircraft in a total force partnership.
Developed by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 Lightning II is a fifth generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
Image: Four F-35 Lightning IIs prepare for takeoff at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Paul Holcomb.