OGDEN, Utah — Officials say the Hill Air Force Base recently launched a record number of F-35 fighter jets to demonstrate military capabilities.
The Air Force’s 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, pumped out 150 sorties in the past two weeks, in addition to the unit’s normal flying operations, to test their capabilities to operate the F-35A Lightning II in a deployed environment.
Col. Michael Ebner, 388th FW vice commander, says the operation was the most Lightning IIs simultaneously launched in the history of the Air Force's F-35A program.
Ebner says in addition to sharpening certain combat flying skills, the effort also was intended to demonstrate the wings' ability to conduct a large-scale combat deployment at a moment’s notice.
Ebner says launching aircraft from multiple squadrons at the same time presented several challenges and allows the wings to evaluate the capabilities of pilots, maintainers and command and control teams.
Ebner says Hill currently has 47 F-35s.