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F-22s, F-35s train together for first time

The Air Force's newest fighters trained together for the first time flew together for the first integration training mission earlier this month.

F-22s joined F-35As on Nov. 5 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, on Nov. 5 for an integration training mission to ensure the jets could communicate with each other and work together on simulated missions.

"The F-22 and F-35 squadrons integrated very well," F-22 pilot Maj. Steven Frosham said in a news the release. "The lessons learned and tactics developed from this training opportunity will help to form the foundation for future growth in our combined fifth-generation fighter tactics."

The jets flew offensive counter air, defensive counter air and interdiction missions together, according to the Air Force. The F-22s were deployed from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The F-35 Lightening IIs were from Eglin's 58th Fighter Squadron.

"When the F-22 and F-35 come together, it brings out the strength of both airplanes," said Lt. Col. Matt Renbarger, F-35 pilot and 58th Fighter Squadron commander, said in an Air Force release. "The F-22 was built to be an air-to-air superiority fighter and the F-35 was built to be a strike fighter. These airplanes complement each other, and we're trying to learn how to take that from a design perspective into a tactical arena and be the most effective combat team we can be working with the F-22s."

The F-22s were deployed from the Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

"The F-22 and F-35 squadrons integrated very well," F-22 pilot Maj. Steven Frosham said in the release. "The lessons learned and tactics developed from this training opportunity will help to form the foundation for future growth in our combined fifth-generation fighter tactics."

The Air Force's F-35As will not meet initial operating capability until 2016, and instructor pilots are still in training at Eglin. The Air Force last month opened the training center for F-35 operational pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, with the first class expected to start in May.

The training flight came shortly after the F-22 made its combat debut Sept. 23 over Syria on Sept. 23, striking targets belonging to the Islamic State. For that mission, Air Force officials said the jet was more than just a strike aircraft. The jet's advanced avionics and sensors also mean it can provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and increase the situational awareness of all the aircraft that are used in a strike mission.

"The greatest capability the F-22 brings is its integrated avionics, its fused avionics that facilitates situational awareness not just for the pilot in the airplane but really for the entire package that is going to execute the mission," Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, said told during a briefing Sept. 29. "That's the specific capability thatn an F-22 is really tremendous at and, as we've integrated into the force over the years, brings to this fight."

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