The active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings conducted an F-35A Combat Power Exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Jan. 6, 2020. The exercise, which was planned for months, demonstrated their ability to employ a large force of F-35As -- testing readiness in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, flight operations, and combat capability against air and ground targets. A little more than four years after receiving their first combat-coded F35A Lightning II aircraft, Hill's fighter wings have achieved full warfighting capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah: The active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th FW conducted a combat power exercise here Jan. 6, launching 52 F-35A Lightning IIs in rapid succession.

The fighter wings are home to 78 aircraft. As the Air Force’s only combat-capable F-35A units, the wings must be prepared to launch any number of aircraft to support the national defense mission at a moment’s notice. Last year, they began regularly supporting combat operations with the F-35A with consecutive deployments.

From April to October 2019, they deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, and conducted combat operations in support of the Central Command mission in the region. In October, they departed on their second combat deployment.

Currently, the wings fly 30-60 sorties per day from Hill’s flight line. During the exercise, Airmen launched roughly the same number of daily sorties, but they took off in quick intervals.

Launching aircraft from multiple squadrons simultaneously presents various challenges and allows the wings to evaluate the capabilities of maintenance professionals, as well as pilots and command and control teams.

The exercise was part of normal, scheduled training operations and not a response to any current events.

F-35 JSF Fighter Jet Photo Gallery