HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- There was a ceremony and some prominent guests on hand Wednesday as several more of the most advanced airplanes in the world arrived at Hill Air Force Base.
Military and political personnel said the F-35 is the future of tactical aviation.
The entire United States Air Force is watching the airmen at HAFB to see how the F-35 performs over the next 10 months. In August, they expect the new planes to be ready for combat.
Air Force leaders describe it as an $80 million-plus machine that’s lethal, survivable, adaptable, and, proving to be reliable thus far.
Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee along with Congressman Rob Bishop and Air Force General Hawk Carlisle all overcame challenges to bring the F-35 to HAFB. They said we need it now more than ever.
“If you look at just what we are faced with today, whether it’s the ever-rising fight against the Taliban; it’s the Islamic state in Iraq, in Syria, it’s Yemen, it’s Libya, it’s Nigeria, it’s the Russians in Syria, it’s the Russians in Ukraine; it is the unpredictable North Korea; it’s the PRC aggressively trying to reclaim land and build the ability to defend their 9-dash line,” said HAFB General Hawk Carlisle as he addressed the entire HAFB and state and local leaders during the opening ceremony for the new F-35. “The security challenges we face today are as great as they have ever been, in my opinion.”
Rep. Bishop said: “This is not only the security of this nation, but if we are going to have an active foreign policy and be able to defend that foreign policy and implement it we got to have this to back it up."
General Carlisle said the F-35 is undetectable, and has unmatched capabilities, including getting into denied airspace, evading enemy radar, and fusing information together for the pilot like no other plane has done before.
“This fighter jet, with its stealth capabilities and advanced avionics, really gives us an edge,” Senator Mike Lee said.
The rest of the United States Air Force will watch as HAFB tests the new jets.
The commanders from both fighter wings say they plan to bring 72 F-35s to HAFB by 2019.