HomeNewsArticle Display

Hill's F-35s drop first weapons

Lt. Col. George Watkins, 34th Fighter Squadron commander, drops a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb from an F-35A at the Utah Test and Training Range Feb. 25, 2016. The 34th Fighter Squadron is the Air Force's first combat unit to employ munitions from the F-35A. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Haseltine)

Lt. Col. George Watkins, the 34th Fighter Squadron commander, drops a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb from an F-35A Lightning II at the Utah Test and Training Range Feb. 25, 2016. The 34th FS is the Air Force's first combat unit to employ munitions from the F-35A. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Haseltine)

Airman Juan Rivas, Senior Airman Darion White and Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Kalsbeek, 34th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load crew members, prepare to equip an F-35A with a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Airman Juan Rivas, Senior Airman Darion White and Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Kalsbeek, all 34th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load crew members, prepare to equip an F-35A Lightning II with a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Kalsbeek and Airman Juan Rivas, 34th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load crew members, prepare to equip an F-35A with a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Kalsbeek and Airman Juan Rivas, both 34th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load crew members, prepare to equip an F-35A Lightning II with a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 388th and 419th fighter wings dropped laser-guided bombs at the Utah Test and Training Range the week of Feb. 25, marking the first time an F-35 Lightning II combat unit has deployed weapons from the F-35A.

Lt. Col. George Watkins, the 34th Fighter Squadron commander, said dropping weapons from the F-35 allows pilots to more fully engage the aircraft and confirm that everything works as planned.

“This is significant because we’re building the confidence of our pilots by actually dropping something off the airplane instead of simulating weapon employment,” Watkins said.

Air Force F-35s have dropped weapons in test environments, but this is the first time it’s been done on jets designed to deploy once the Air Force declares initial operational capability, which it plans to do between August and December. IOC will be announced when the Air Force deems the F-35 combat capable.

Lt. Col. Darrin Dronoff, the director of Hill’s F-35 Program Integration Office, said that while this achievement is a significant step toward Air Force IOC, the milestone goes beyond that mark.

“The pilots and weapons loaders in the 388th and 419th fighter wings are perfecting their skills not only to prove aircraft capabilities, but they’ll also be the Airmen called upon to take the F-35 to combat, whenever that call may come,” he said.

Hill’s F-35 pilots will begin flying the F-35 in four-ship formations, which is the standard configuration flown in contested combat scenarios, as early as March.

Engage

Twitter
Give @GenCQBrownJr a follow for the latest on how he's leading the charge to accelerate change throughout the… https://t.co/LtDGcVwsKi
Twitter
Honoring a pioneer. Join us in celebrating the life and legacy of Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager live, noon EST. Live c… https://t.co/0aFqKjSWyO
Twitter
RT @CalGuard: Airmen from the Cal Guard's 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno are stepping up to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. #TheVirusStops
Twitter
Pilot Training Next For the 1st time in @AFSpecOpsCmd history, two new graduates from @AETCommand's Pilot Training… https://t.co/TPOIM1KDEl
Twitter
Celebrating service. @GenCQBrownJr and @SpaceForceCSO thanked @SecAFOfficial Barbara Barrett for her service duri… https://t.co/0uo2BGRrq9
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The remarkable consistency, the universality, in the @USAirForce & @SpaceForceDoD is the goodness of our people. Every d…
Twitter
Providing strategic depth The @USAFReserve’s T-56-15A engine Centralized Repair Facility, supported by the 913th A… https://t.co/wGHrc7Zdid
Twitter
RT @USAfricaCommand: First members of AFRICOM vaccinated against #COVID19 "It doesn’t mean we can let up, doesn’t mean we can’t keep follo…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Our AFMC essential Airmen continue to receive the first round of #COVID19 vaccines, with the latest at @HAFB and @RobinsAFB_GA
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to all @USAirForce #Airmen & @SpaceForceDoD #Guardians for safeguarding our Nation and the principles that def…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Life has a way of throwing us curveballs. How we deal with those moments is part of who we are. How we help others deal…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Received a COVID-19 vaccination yesterday alongside @USECAF_Manasco, @GenCQBrownJr, and @cmsaf_official. As the vaccine…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: The Nation’s Reserve Citizen Airmen didn’t let 2020 deter them. Check out how the 419th Fighter Wing continued its legacy…
Twitter
Give @GenCQBrownJr a follow for the latest on how he's leading the charge to accelerate change throughout the… https://t.co/KMqiaTbZNe
Twitter
The future is now. Air Force leadership participated in a virtual B-21 Industry Day event to increase industry awa… https://t.co/arNkumnouq
Twitter
RT @USAfricaCommand: Since the onset of #COVID19, a whole-of-government approach has enabled multiple #HumanitarianAssistance donations to…
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: #DYK the air terminal ops center (ATOC) at Nigerien Air Base 201 is responsible for air transportation ops including cargo…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,311,687
Follow Us