F-35 multilateral conference sets stage for operational integration in Indo-Pacific

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Hailey Haux
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

F-35 Lightning II subject matter experts from the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea met to improve 4th and 5th generation aircraft theater interoperability during the second Pacific F-35 User Group Conference at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, March 12 -14.

More than 80 personnel from the four nations discussed bed down and strategic concepts, operations, logistics and sustainment topics, all building on the success of the March 2017 F-35 Symposium.

“This conference provides a great opportunity to work with our allies to strengthen our interoperability with 5th and 4th generation aircraft as these airframes start to become more prominent in the region,” said Gen. CQ Brown Jr., Pacific Air Forces commander. “Improving interoperability between our forces and helping allies increase their capabilities works to deter aggression, maintain stability and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

This year’s theme “operational integration in the Indo-Pacific” focused on security, interoperability, training, simulators and logistics information systems.

As the presence of the F-35 increases in the Indo-Pacific, future multilateral exercises will enhance 5th generation aircraft interoperability and integration, as well as agile command and control across the full spectrum of combined warfighter operations.

“It’s how we take advantage of all the capabilities we have in the region,” Brown said. “The F-35 will bring a full spectrum of capabilities to us and will be a critical part of joint and coalition efforts.”

The Marine Corps currently has F-35Bs based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, is projected to house future F-35A squadrons starting in 2020. The Air Force last deployed F-35As to the region in 2017, with the 34th Fighter Squadron from Hill AFB, Utah, going to Kadena Air Base, Japan, for a six-month deployment.

The F-35’s advanced technologies and sensors, in conjunction with other multi-domain systems to collect, fuse and distribute information will lead to unprecedented battlespace awareness, survivability, and lethality in future highly contested environments.

“Right now we have all the right people in the right place at the right time,” Brown said. “With that we can address change, identify areas that require additional work, and initiate measurable progress to close gaps. As we posture for the future, remember that we’re stronger and more effective when we work together.”