First Simulated F-35A Deployment Conducted at Mountain Home Air Force Base
A much anticipated and important test mission for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program is underway with the "deployment" of six operational test and evaluation F-35s and more than 85 Airmen from the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, which took place Feb. 8-9.
U.S. Air Force Photo
This is the first simulated deployment test of the F-35A Lightning II, specifically to execute three key initial operational capability mission sets: suppression of enemy air defenses, close air support and air interdiction.
The 31st TES will execute each of these in a limited scope from a "deployed" location for this test. The deployed location is Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The 31st TES at Edwards AFB falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida, which is leading the test design, management and execution of the F-35A deployment test.
The achievements of an F-35A squadron testing ability to deploy, employ and sustain operations will set the benchmark capability for the Air Force to declare F-35A initial operational capability scheduled for this fall, according to the 53rd Wing.