A little more than four years after receiving their first combat-coded F-35A Lightning aircraft, Hill Air Force Base‘s fighter wings have reached full capability.
The term describes a set of focus areas within the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings: fully trained pilots and maintainers, a full complement of 78 aircraft and the mission and support equipment needed to fly.
According to the US Air Force:
“While the designation of full warfighting capability is an important milestone, the wing has been combat capable since the Air Force declared initial operational capability in August 2016. Since then, the wings have participated in several large combat exercises, deployed twice to Europe and once to the Pacific and supported two Middle East combat deployments, including one short-notice tasking.”
“Every training opportunity, exercise and deployment we’ve completed over the past four years has been a key stepping stone in reaching full warfighting capability,” said Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander.
“This is just the beginning of sustained F-35A combat operations and we will remain focused on staying ready to deploy whenever, wherever we’re needed.”
When the first aircraft arrived in 2015, the goal was to fully equip each squadron with 24 primary assigned aircraft and six backups by the end of 2019.
That was realised in December with the delivery of the 78th jet, say the US Air Force.