Hill Air Force Base conducts mass rapid launch exercise of F-35 fighters

U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighters during a mass launch combat power exercise at Hill AFB. Photo by 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Air Force

Nov. 20 (UPI) — The Air Force’s 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing performed a combat power exercise Monday by rapidly launching dozens of F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft in close sequence from Hill Air Force Base.

The 388th and 419th FWs are currently the only combat-ready F-35s operational in the Air Force and must maintain a high level of readiness for rapid deployment, according to a press release from the service.

“We are ready to fight tonight, and exercising with multiple squadrons of F-35s can demonstrate our ability to defeat potential adversaries wherever they may arise,” exercise project officer Maj. Caleb Guthmann said.

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The wings routinely fly between 30-60 sorties per day from Hill AFB. Roughly that number of F-35s were launched during the exercise in 20-to-40-second intervals, requiring a great deal of coordination between launch crews, pilots and command and control units.

The Air Force Reserve 419th Air Wing has recently transitioned from the F-16 to the F-35A and has participated in the with the 388th in the first F-35 training deployments to Europe.

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