The US Air Force has deployed one squadron of F-35 Lightning jets to Aviano Air Base, Italy.
The F-35A aircraft are from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings, based at Hill AFB, Utah, and according to the US Air Force they have been deployed to participate in exercises and conduct training with other Europe-based aircraft as part of a ‘Theater Security Package’.
According to a release:
“Funded through the European Deterrence Initiative, the TSP provides a more robust U.S. military rotational presence in the European theater capable of deterring adversaries and assuring partners and allies of U.S. commitment to regional security. The F-35s and members of the 421st and 466th Fighter Squadrons arrived at Aviano AB, May 24 and will remain in Europe for several weeks.
The 388th FW is the Air Force’s first combat-coded, or operational, F-35A unit. This is their second deployment to Europe. The first was the 34th Fighter Squadron deployment to RAF Lakenheath, England, in April 2017. The 421st FS is the newest F-35A squadron and this is their first deployment with the multi-role stealth fighter.”
“The entire 421st ops and maintenance team are extremely excited for this deployment,” said Lt. Col. Richard Orzechowski, 421st Fighter Squadron commander.
“As the final 388th Fighter Wing squadron to transition to the F-35A, we’ve been able to leverage the experience of the 4th FS and 34th FS and take the squadron on the road just six months after getting our first jets. We are really looking forward to continuing the cohesion built with our allies and partners. It is a real privilege to get the seasoning, training and life experiences for our 388th and 419th FW Airmen.”