F-35 pilots from the U.S., U.K. and Israel took part in a one-day training exercise over the eastern Mediterranean Sea on June 25, according to a U.S. Air Force news release.
Exercise Tri-Lightning, a defensive counter-air exercise that involved both active and passive air defense operations, provided an opportunity for Lightning II pilots from the three countries to work on capability and interoperability.
It was also the first exercise in which the three nations conducted aviation training with the same airframe at the same time, according to the news release.
The U.S. Air Force F-35As from the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron flew from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, while the Royal Air Force F-35Bs flew out of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and the Israeli Air Force F-35Is flew from Nevatim Air Base, Israel.
Simulating realistic combat situations, the F-35s acted in the roll of friendly, or blue, force player in the exercise while a variety of fourth-generation aircraft played the role of the aggressor, according to the news release.
“We build capacity with our strategic partners to harness our air component’s capabilities and skills,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, the head of .S. Air Forces Central Command, in the press release. “The transatlantic strategic relationship between the U.S. and our allies and partners has been forged over the past seven decades and is built on a foundation of shared values, experience, and vision.”