Air Force launches dozens of F-35 stealth fighters for combat-power exercise in Utah
By JAMES BOLINGER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 19, 2018
Dozens of the Air Force’s most advanced stealth fighters took to the air at a quick-fire pace during a combat-power exercise this week out of Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
Thirty-five F-35A Lightning IIs were launched in about 11 minutes for Monday’s drill, according to the Desert News of Salt Lake City.
The sorties, which happened at 20- to 40-second intervals, were designed to evaluate the capabilities of pilots, maintainers and command and control teams, an Air Force statement said.
Hill houses the only two combat-ready F-35A fighter wings — the 388th and 419th — and airmen must be prepared to launch the aircraft at a moment’s notice, the statement added.
“Exercising with multiple squadrons of F-35s can demonstrate our ability to defeat potential adversaries wherever they may arise,” Maj. Caleb Guthmann of the 34th Fighter Squadron said in the statement.
The F-35A is used for a variety of objectives, including anti-air, anti-surface and anti-ship combat, and electronic warfare. The 388th and 419th Fighter Wings typically fly 30-60 sorties per day from Hill’s flight line, the Air Force said.