The ability to rapidly project power and force against any threat on a moment’s notice has long been a hallmark of American military might. Dozens of advanced stealth fighters carried on that tradition during a combat power exercise Monday.
During the exercise, the US Air Force put a lot of destructive power in the air very quickly, launching a total of 35 F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters in 11 minutes.
Check out these stunning photos of this show of force by dozens of F-35s.
F-35s from Hill Air Force Base’s 388th and 419th Fighter Wings participated in Monday’s exercise.
The milestone drill marks the first ever F-35 “Elephant Walk” combat power exercise, the purpose of which is to fly as many sorties as possible in a predetermined time period in preparation for a possible combat surge.
“The exercise aims to confirm their ability to quickly employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, and demonstrate the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II,” the 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office said in a statement.
“We are ready to fight tonight, and exercising with multiple squadrons of F-35s can demonstrate our ability to defeat potential adversaries wherever they may arise,” Maj. Caleb Guthmann, the 34th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations and the lead officer for the exercise, explained in a separate statement.
The Air Force revealed that on any given day, the F-35 wings at Hill Air Force Base fly 30-60 sorties.
During development, the F-35 has faced numerous setbacks. The aircraft, recognised as the most expensive in military history, suffered its first crash in South Carolina the same week it completed its first combat mission.