US Looks for F‑35 Missions in Middle East

 In Air, GCC, UAE, Forces & Capabilities

(Source: U.S. Air Forces Central Command; issued July 30, 2020)

A US Air Force F‑35A flies over the U.S. Central Command area of respon­si­bil­i­ty. Touting the aircraft’s stealth, sensor fusion and sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness, the US Air Force is trying to define a role for it in its Middle East oper­a­tions. (USAF photo)

AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, UAE — The 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron did some­thing in early July which had never been done before by an F‑35A Lightning II unit — go into alert status.

The squadron per­formed alert status exer­cis­es to pro­vide the nec­es­sary data points to mis­sion plan­ners with the U.S. Air Force Central Command Air Operations Center.

“This hasn’t been done before with F‑35s and oper­a­tional con­trol or at ADAB with F‑35s,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Redmond, 421st EFS com­man­der. “It effec­tive­ly adds anoth­er capa­bil­i­ty or tool in leadership’s toolk­it for how to deter, defend, or respond to events in the region.”

The F‑35A is an agile, ver­sa­tile, high-per­for­mance, mul­ti­role fight­er that com­bines stealth, sensor fusion and unprece­dent­ed sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness. It con­tains state-of-the-art tac­ti­cal data links that pro­vide the secure shar­ing of data among its flight mem­bers as well as other air­borne, sur­face and ground-based plat­forms required to per­form assigned mis­sions.

Senior lead­er­ship applaud­ed the efforts of the unit mem­bers in set­ting the pace.

Our com­mit­ment to deter­rence was proven during this exer­cise,” said Col. Kristen Thompson, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group com­man­der. “The F‑35 was an inte­gral part of a base-wide effort to fur­ther demon­strate our agili­ty and our resolve. I am con­tin­u­al­ly proud of the 421st EFS and their abil­i­ty to set new stan­dards and lever­age our abil­i­ty to project power.”

The capa­bil­i­ties of the fifth-gen­er­a­tion fight­er allows the U.S. to main­tain strong ties in the region by pro­vid­ing sta­bil­i­ty to its allies and part­ners.

“Our hope is to be a valu­able con­trib­u­tor to the sta­bil­i­ty of this region and be pre­pared to defend it if nec­es­sary,” said Redmond.

-ends-

Defense Aerospace source|articles

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