General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle Commander, Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia said Friday the F-35A will deploy to Europe this ‘spring to summertime’ but don’t look for the aircraft to participate in the fight against ISIS anytime soon.

The plan is a few years out. It’s not going to happen this year,” Air Force Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle told reporters during a breakfast in Washington, D.C.

“But we have plans to send it to the Middle East in the not-too-distant future,” Carlisle added. “It would deploy as an asset for the [Combined Forces Air Component commander] at Al Udeid [Qatar], so he would use it as he would see fit, and I would certainly expect it to participate in operations just like the F-22 is today.” – Military.com

Carlisle stated he is confident in the F-35A and its combat capability based on its recent performance at Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada where the F-35 “performed extremely well.”

The Air Force is also planning to deploy the stealth fighter to the Pacific this year. Also, the Marine Corps recently sent a squadron of F-35B variant aircraft to Japan and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force received its first F-35 in December 2016.

The Air Force is under pressure to show the operational capabilities of the F-35 but at the same time they can’t risk placing it in actual combat situations before the program is fully tested and ready.

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Lt. General Jon “Dog” Davis, Marine Corps Deputy Commandant of Aviation recently stated that the Marine Corps wants to speed up their acquisition of the F-35B.  “We’d transition squadrons faster is what we’d do,” Davis said. “We’d develop a plan where we’d be out of F-18 and Harrier completely by 2026.”

What do you think? Is the F-35 ready for combat?

Featured image of an F-35 via Youtube screen capture

This article is courtesy of Fighter Sweep.