HILL AFB, Utah --- After two weeks of rigorous testing in Idaho, the commander of Hill Air Force Base’s 388th Fighter Wing says the F-35 is ready for war.
On June 17, seven of Hill’s 12 F-35A Lightning II jets returned from two weeks of operational training at Mountain Home Air Force Base, where a crew of about 180 tested the jet during simulated combat exercises. Those simulations tested the F-35s ability to suppress and destroy enemy aircraft, launch air interdiction missions and provide basic close air support — all things F-35 pilots will be asked to do in combat scenarios.
Col. David Lyons, commander of the 388th, said the two-week testing period proved the next-generation fighter has overcome issues surrounding its combat readiness, most notably glitches in the plane’s software system.
Lyons said Hill’s F-35s completed all 88 of the combat sorties that were scheduled for the training. During those sorties, pilots practiced dropping GBU-12 Paveway II bombs from the jet and hit 15 of 16 targets. And perhaps most importantly, Lyons said there were no issues with the performance of the jet’s Autonomic Logistics Information System.
A glitch in the software system had been causing the plane’s radar to shut down sporadically, sometimes during mid-flight, but F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office has been working to fix the glitch over the past several months.
“We had zero losses due to any software stability issues,” said Maj. Brad Matherne, an F-35 pilot with Hill’s 34th Fighter Squadron. “There were no shut down events on the ground or in the air. We had zero issues.” (end of excerpt)
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