The Air Force is sending the F-35A to Europe to train with NATO allies. This will be the first time the F-35A variant will go to Europe. Only a ‘small number’ of aircraft will be making the trip from Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
In December, then-Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James hinted that a rotation of F-35s would deploy to Europe amid security threats from Russia. She said after being approved to fly initial operations in August, the F-35 would be ready to deploy to the European theater next summer in line with how “allies expect it will transform the battlefield, even in the … anti-access area denial environment,” she said.
Officials also plan an F-35 theater security package rotation, or TSP, to the Asia-Pacific region soon. Such a rotation includes forward-deployed aircraft and units that conduct missions across the continent over six months to reassure allies. – Military.com
The F-35s were scheduled to leave this past weekend going to yet to be announced locations. Last year the F-22 Raptor made a similar training deployment to Europe.
Featured image of Hill Air Force Base F-35A Lightning IIs flying in formation over the Utah Test and Training Range, March 30, 2017. Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw, US Air Force