Eight F-35 Lightning aircraft from the United States Air Force along with supporting units and equipment have completed the first F-35A training deployment to Europe.

While at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, the squadron flew 76 sorties and tallied more than 154 flying hours alongside F-15s from the 48th Fighter Wing.

Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, the 493rd Fighter Squadron commander said:

“This exercise provided our pilots with the opportunity to practice working together to solve complex tactical scenarios using integrated operations that optimised both the F-35 and F-15’s capabilities. We found that by working together, we can achieve a higher level of performance than either aircraft can achieve alone.

During the training deployment, the aircraft forward deployed to Estonia and Bulgaria to maximise training opportunities, build partnerships with allied air forces and familiarise Airmen with Europe’s broad and diverse operating conditions.

This deployment was a great opportunity for the 34th (FS) and the 48th (FW) to practice 4th and 5th generation fighter integration tactics. It was an honour to host the 34th (FS) at RAF Lakenheath, where we were able to integrate our operations in a shared workspace.”

RAF Lakenheath is scheduled to receive its first permanent F-35A Lightning IIs in 2021.

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Nick Bowman
Nick Bowman
4 years ago

That’s fewer than ten sorties per aircraft. Why would you deploy all the way across the Atlantic for such a small number? Is this still a glass aircraft?