USAF FLAUNTS F-35A READINESS IN MASS MISSIONS
THE 388TH FIGHTER Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron and its maintenance unit recently completed a combat surge to evaluate its ability to operate the F-35A in a deployed environment. The exercise focused on combat operations and tactical scenarios and included aircraft battle damage, downed pilot recovery, and operating in an environment with limited or no communications. Over a two-week period, the squadron carried out nearly 150 sorties and maintenance personnel loaded a variety of munitions onto the aircraft. Operations simulated real-world combat situations and the pilots wore full combat gear. Missions were conducted from Hill AFB, Utah, and alternate locations, and a secure deployable operations facility was utilized for mission planning, debrief, intelligence, and the autonomic logistics information system (ALIS). A larger wing surge included launching 35 F-35s in an 11-minute period, which, according to Col Michael Ebner, 388th FW vicecommander, was the most Lightning IIs that had simultaneously been launched by the USAF.