Hill AFB conducts Combat Power exercise

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F-35A pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wing prepare for takeoff as part of a combat power exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. 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. As the first combat-ready F-35 units in the Air Force, the 388th and 419th FWs are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice.

The 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, conducted a combat power exercise Nov. 19, 2018, and launched 35 F-35A Lightning IIs within a condensed period of time. 

As the Air Force’s only combat mission ready F-35A units, the 388th and 419th FWs must be prepared to launch any number of aircraft to support the national defense mission at a moment’s notice.

“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,” said Maj. Caleb Guthmann, 34th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations and exercise project officer.

Pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings taxi F-35As on the runway in preparation for a combat power exercise Nov. 19, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The wings fly between 30-60 sorties per day from Hill’s flight line. During the exercise, they launched roughly the same number of sorties, and aircraft took off in 20 to 40-second intervals.

Launching aircraft from multiple squadrons simultaneously presents various challenges and allows the wings to evaluate the capabilities of maintenance professionals, as well as pilots and command and control teams.

Hill AFB is slated to be home to three F-35 fighter squadrons with a total of 78 aircraft by the end of 2019. The active duty 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW will fly and maintain the jets in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of both components.
 

Maintainers from the 388th Maintenance Group prepare an F-35A for its mission Nov. 19. Pilots and maintainers from the 388th and 419th conducted a combat power exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Nov. 19.

 

A formation of 35 F-35A Lightning IIs, from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings fly over the Utah Test and Training Range as part of a combat power exercise on Nov. 19, 2018.

 

F-35A pilots from the 388th and 419th conducted a combat power exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Nov. 19.

 

A F-35A Lightning II from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wing fly by as part of a combat power exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

 

A formation of F-35 Lightning IIs from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings stationed at Hill Air Force Base perform aerial maneuvers during as part of a combat power exercise over Utah Test and Training Range, Nov. 19, 2018.

 

F-35A pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wing go through their mission brief as they prepare for a combat power exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.