U.S. Forces display technology, military might at Farnborough

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Air Force photograph by MSgt. Eric Burks

An F-35B Lightning II and a C-130J Super Hercules participate in an aerial demonstration at the Farnborough International Air Show, July 12, 2016. Held every two years, the air show represents a unique opportunity for the U.S., along with other military allies, to showcase its leadership in aerospace technologies while supporting various armament procurement competitions taking place throughout Europe.

“We hope to provide insight to the industry partners who provide the equipment and technologies which drives our tactics, techniques and procedures to achieve not only the United States’ aspirations, but also those for the alliance and coalition,” said Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, during a Farnborough International Air Show opening day ceremony at the U.S. Pavilion, July 11.

Gorenc, who also heads the NATO Allied Air Command, added the U.S. supports its NATO partners through participation in this international event.
Of interest to international stakeholders and the U.S. for national security is the F-35 Lightning II, which made its much-anticipated debut at Farnborough.

As observers gathered with cameras in hand, an F-35B variant demonstrated some of its short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities.

“It was mind-blowing to see it hover in that position that long,” said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class, Chris Hoffman, aviation survival technician, U.S. Asset Project Office, Elizabeth City, N.C.

The U.S. Coast Guard is here are part of their year-long Centennial of Flight activities, commemorating their first hundred years of aviation history.

Representing 55 countries from around there globe, 176 aircraft are here as flying demonstrations or static displays. The U.S. military has participated in FIA since its inception.

Almost 80 U.S. aircrew members from around the world showcased air power during flying demonstrations or engaged with aerospace industry visitors and the general public at the static aircraft on display.

“It’s nice to inform the public and we were impressed with the Royal Air Cadets’ aviation knowledge,” added Hoffman.

Other U.S. military aircraft on static display or flying include the F/A-18F Super Hornet, F-16C Fighting Falcon, UH-60 Blackhawk, C-27 Spartan, C-130J Hercules and the P-8 Poseidon.

Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks to attendees of an opening day ceremony at the U.S. pavilion, July 11, 2016, at the Farnborough International Air Show. Held every two years, the air show represents a unique opportunity for the U.S., along with other military allies, to showcase its leadership in aerospace technologies while supporting various armament procurement competitions taking place throughout Europe.

“Our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members areclearly proud to discuss their mission and show off their aircraft,” said Col. Todd Pavich, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe “air boss” for the air show. “And industry is clearly proud of the equipment they build that is critical to our success.”

Twenty-three Department of Defense general officers, senior executive service members and distinguished visitors, as well as 320 U.S. government officials also attended international bilateral discussions and visited some of the 1,500 exhibit displays.

Some of the many DOD visitors included Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; Mr. Winston Beauchamp, Deputy Under Secretary for Space; U.S. Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Air Combat Command Commander; U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Rixey, Defense Security Cooperation Agency Director; U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, Deputy Commandant for Aviation; and Mr. Barry Pike, U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space.

The air show was anticipated to draw more than 100,000 people July 11 through 17.

“The U.K. people are very aviation-savvy,” said Pavich. “Their industry along with many others here is very advanced and the people are genuinely friendly. It’s a pleasant location to be.”