The first appearance by operational US Air Force F-35As in the recent ‘Red Flag’ exercise marked another major milestone in the Lightning II program.

A fabulous night shot on the flight line at Nellis as the evening mission prepares to launch. F-35As from Hill AFB made good use of the high-end training ahead of the first operational deployment for the type, scheduled for this year.
Scott Wolff

FRESH FROM ACHIEVING initial operational capability in August last year, and with the promise of forthcoming Theater Security Package (TSP) deployments to the Pacific and Europe, US Air Force F-35As made their debut at ‘Red Flag 17‑1’ in January and February. It was the first large-scale exercise for the USAF’s newest fighter and served as a baptism of fire for both pilots and maintainers alike.

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