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F-35 and F-22 combine capabilities in operational integration training mission

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. // November 17, 2014

The U.S. Air Force deployed four F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, to Eglin Air Force Base, earlier this month for the unit's first operational integration training mission with the F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

F-22 Raptors from the 94th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, and F-35A Lightning IIs from the 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, fly in formation after completing an integration training mission over the Eglin Training Range, Florida, Nov. 5, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo).

The purpose of the training was to improve integrated employment of fifth-generation assets and tactics. The training allowed both units to gain operational familiarization and capture lessons learned to improve future exercises.

"When the F-22 and F-35 come together, it brings out the strength of both airplanes," said Lt. Col. Matt Renbarger, F-35 pilot and 58th Fighter Squadron commander. "The F-22 was built to be an air-to-air superiority fighter and the F-35 was built to be a strike fighter. These airplanes complement each other and we're trying to learn how to take that from a design perspective into a tactical arena and be the most effective combat team we can be working with the F-22s."

The F-35s and F-22s flew offensive counter air, defensive counter air and interdiction missions together, exploring ways to maximize their fifth-generation capabilities.

"The missions started with basic air-to-air and surface attacks," said Maj. Steven Frodsham, F-22 pilot and 149th Fighter Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. "As the training progressed, the missions developed into more advanced escort and defensive counter air fifth-generation integration missions."

Read the full story from Eglin AFB.