The F-35A was declared ‘combat-ready’ on August 2, 2016, as the US Air Force achieved initial operating capability at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. But what lies ahead for the F-35 in USAF service, and how is the program shaping up?

F-35As on the prowl over the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR). The F-35’s advanced abilities have made clear the need to improve the US military’s training ranges in order to meet the latest training requirements.

IT’S A PROGRAM that draws controversy, critics and glowing supporters alike. The superlatives quoted by those close to the F-35 Lightning II speak of their ‘baby’ in an almost sycophantic manner, yet many are still unconvinced. Indeed, Canada’s insistence that the F-35 remains an uncertain quantity and that an interim batch of Super Hornets is currently a better option will only serve to fuel that skepticism.

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