On the F-35 progress front, the Lightning IIs based at Hill Air Force Base have begun working on their 4-ship combat training missions. To that end, personnel from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings have been flying against a number of threats on the Utah Test and Training Range. Whether you love it or hate it, progress is a good thing, and we’re excited to see it.
F-35 Lightning II pilots from Hill Air Force Base began flying routine four-ship combat training missions at the Utah Test and Training Range in the west desert May 2.
Active-duty and Reserve pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings used the jet’s intricate computer network to evade a series of simulated threats. They worked together to detect and jam enemy radar and identify and destroy targets from roughly 40,000 feet, just as they would in combat.
“A four-ship configuration is the standard for combat, so this training is crucial,” said Lt. Col. George Watkins, the 34th Fighter Squadron commander. “We’ll train to fly into contested environments where highly advanced enemy surface-to-air threats exist.”
The F-35 was created to do just that. It’s impossible to penetrate this type of enemy territory with non-stealth aircraft such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-15 Eagle, Watkins said.
In addition to being stealthy, the F-35 is designed to gather, fuse and distribute more information than any fighter jet in history.
“The F-35 gives us the ability to access enemy airspace like never before,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Pitts, the commander of Detachment 1, 419th Operations Group. “The F-35 is a giant leap in technology and offers a significant air superiority advantage in high-threat areas.”