The U.S. Air Force has announced that the active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings conducted an F-35A Combat Power Exercise with 52 aircraft at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Jan. 6, 2020.
The exercise, which was planned for months, demonstrated their ability to employ a large force of F-35As – testing readiness in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, flight operations, and combat capability against air and ground targets.
A little more than four years after receiving their first combat-coded F-35A Lightning II aircraft, Hill’s fighter wings have achieved full warfighting capability.
The first operational F-35As arrived at Hill in September 2015 and since then the active duty 388th and Reserve 419th FWs have flown more than 17,500 sorties and more than 33,000 flying hours.
The 388 FW’s three squadrons – the 4th, 34th and 421st Fighter Squadrons – now each have 24 primary assigned aircraft with six back-up aircraft. The 419th FW’s 466th FS also supports routine F-35 operations side by side with the active duty squadrons.
Airmen from the wings are currently deployed in support of combat operations in the Middle East. Over the past three years, the wings have also deployed to the European and Pacific theaters and participated in several large-scale Air Force and international combat exercises.
Hill was chosen to be the home of the Air Force’s first F-35A units because of the Total Force partnership of the 388th and 419th FWs, its proximity to the Utah Test and Training Range, the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, and the base’s weather, zoning, and airspace.
The 388th and Reserve @419fw conducted a Combat Power Exercise with 52 aircraft @HAFB, Utah, today. The exercise, which was planned for months, demonstrated their ability to employ a large force of F-35As.
We are now at full warfighting capability
: R. Nial Bradshaw pic.twitter.com/LCZ2jUeJNP
— 388th Fighter Wing (@388fw) January 6, 2020