U.S. Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II Scheduled for First Operational Deployment to Indo-Asia-Pacific
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 in early November.
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 & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 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 U.S. PACOM’s theater security package (TSP) 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 U.S. Marine Corps F-35B variant has been stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan since January, 2017.