The USAF is dispatching its first ever team of F35As to participate in training exercises in Europe.
A “small number” of the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made fifth-generation stealth fighters will fly overseas for several weeks beginning this weekend, according to a release Friday from the Defense Department.
This is being seen as a power play against Russians and follows the general yet recent trend of Americans to deploy top of the line hardware in exercises as a show of force against Russia, last year they deployed the F22 Raptors, so this deployment isn’t surprising.
The F-35s are scheduled to fly with other U.S. and NATO aircraft for “long-planned training,” according to a Defense Department release.
The service didn’t disclose the number of aircraft involved, but said it would be small and that the mission is part of the so-called European Reassurance Initiative to support allies in the region following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine.
Officials also plan an F-35 theater security package rotation, or TSP, to the Asia-Pacific region soon. Such a rotation includes forward-deployed aircraft and units that conduct missions across the continent over six months to reassure allies.
Pic Copyrights – Lockheed Martin