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F-35A scheduled for first operational deployment to Indo-Asia-Pacific

U.S. Air Force's F-35A Lightning II scheduled for first operational deployment to Indo-Asia-Pacific

An F-35 Lightning II from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, taxis for take-off at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Oct. 13, 2017. The F-35A is being deployed under U.S. Pacific Command's theater security package program, which has been in operation since 2004. This long-planned deployment is designed to demonstrate the continuing U.S. commitment to stability and security in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Approximately 300 Airmen and 12 F-35A Lightning IIs from Hill Air Force Base, Utah’s 34th Fighter Squadron are set to deploy to Kadena Air Base, Japan for a six month rotation. The aircraft and supporting personnel are scheduled to arrive at Kadena AB in early November 2017.

This marks U.S. Pacific Command’s first operational tasking for the F-35A and builds upon the U.S. Air Force fifth-generation stealth fighter’s successful debut in the Indo-Asia-Pacific at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition earlier this month.

“The F-35A gives the joint warfighter unprecedented global precision attack capability against current and emerging threats while complementing our air superiority fleet,” said Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander. “The airframe is ideally suited to meet our command’s obligations, and we look forward to integrating it into our training and operations.”

The F-35A is being deployed under USPACOM’s theater security package program, which has been in operation since 2004. This long-planned deployment is designed to demonstrate the continuing U.S. commitment to stability and security in the region.

While a first in-theater for the F-35A, the Marine Corps F-35B variant has been stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan since January 2017.

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