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Hill brings F-35 to Red Flag for third year

F-35 takes off at Hill Air Force Base

(U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – For the third year, pilots and maintainers from the 419th Fighter Wing are joining the active duty 388th FW to bring the F-35A to Red Flag 20-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Red Flag is known as the Air Force’s premier combat training exercise. The three-week effort tests air-to-air, air-to-ground, and space and cyber warfare. The F-35 will provide offensive and defensive counter air, suppression of enemy air defense, and close air support against enemy forces.

Personnel from Hill AFB will work with other Air Force units flying a variety of aircraft from around the world, including other F-35 aircraft from Europe. Typically, about 2,000 personnel and more than 100 aircraft participate in Red Flag exercises, which take place throughout the year at Nellis AFB.

Since participating in Red Flag last year, the F-35s have deployed twice to the Middle East in support of real-world combat deployments, and Hill’s fighter wings have reached Full Warfighting Capability.

Hill debuted the F-35A Lightning II at Red Flag in 2017 and came away with a 20:1 kill ratio.

While at Red Flag 20-1, F-35 maintainers will generate multiple sorties and will be challenged to maintain a high ops-tempo during both day and night missions.

The active duty 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW fly and maintain the F-35 in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of both components. Hill AFB is now home to a full fleet of 78 F-35s.