Tag: F-35A

Legislator Says South Korea’s F-35As Grounded By Malfunctions 172 Times Over 18 Months

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Legislator Says South Korea's F-35As Grounded By Malfunctions 172 Times Over 18 Months
File picture of a ROKAF F-35A(Image credit scores: LM)South Korean legislator worried regarding the concerns influencing ROKAF F-35s. The dependability of the ROKAF(Republic Of Korea Air Force) F-35A competitors is creating worry in South Korea according to a write-up released by the Yonhap News Agency. According to the record, mentioning Air Force information, Rep. Shin Won-sik of the judgment People Power Party lawa claimed that the South Korean F-35s have actually been”operationally unready” 234 times over 18-month duration finishing in June 2022.

The reduced accessibility price, triggered by breakdowns, based the ROKAF F-35s on 172 circumstances, while in 62 situations the jets can fly yet they were in some way restricted, and also not able to perform specific objectives. “Grounded fifth-generation boxers might accomplish objectives for just 12 days generally in 2015 as well as 11 days in the very first fifty percent of this year” the record states.

Backed by this information, the legislator worried the South Korean army “need to make exhausting initiatives not just to present such premium tools systems however likewise to preserve them”.

In spite of enduring constant concerns (specifically compared to older generation jets like the F-4E as well as the F-5 that were specifically based just 26 and also 28 times over the very same duration), ROKAF stated that the fleet satisfied the target procedure price of 75 percent. Tolerable, contrasted to the schedule price of the U.S. F-35 fleet that you can locate right here.

While we still miss out on some explanation concerning the information revealed by the South Korean MP (we do not recognize, as an example, just how accessibility price is determined by ROKAF), it appears clear that, regardless of some airplane have actually been based for long period of time, the solution, that confessed troubles acquiring components for flaws, has actually had the ability to introduce the variety of sorties of objective qualified airplane needed to preserving the preparedness position required to hinder North Korean hazards.

On Mar. 25, 2022, on the day complying with North Korea’s launch of the brand-new Hwasongpho-17 “beast” global ballistic projectile, the South reacted by placing its F-35A in ceremony: an Elephant Walk that consisted of 28 (out of 40) F-35A the ROKAF has actually gotten was extensively marketed throughout the social media networks with the motto “Invisible power to safeguard South Korea” to reveal that the South Korea’s army “will certainly utilize the F-35A with all-weather stealth as well as accuracy strike abilities to attain frustrating critical triumphes and also preserve a complete armed forces pose that will certainly discourage additional North Korea’s activities”.

The ROKAF F-35 fleet is based at Cheongju abdominal muscle, southeast of Seoul, in the facility component of South Korea, residence of ROKAF’s 17th Fighter Wing and also its 2 kid systems, the 151 Fighter Squadron and also 152 Fighter Squadron, that run the 5th generation jet. The Republic of Korea picked the F-35 at the end of its F-X III competitor procurement program with the finalizing of a Letter of Offer as well as Acceptance (LOA) in between the U.S. as well as Korean federal governments on Sept. 30, 2014. In total amount, South Korea got 40 F-35A, the last of those was supplied in January this year.

In December 2017, South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration developed a procedure for acquiring the 20 added airplane, the Joongang Ilbo paper reported, pointing out numerous federal government resources. The very first F-35A for the ROKAF, called airplane AW-1, flew in Fort Worth, Texas, in March 2018. In the very same year, the very first F-35A was provided to Luke AFB, Arizona, for pilot training while in 2019, the initial F-35As were supplied to their long-term base in South Korea.

Complying with a stomach touchdown occurrence, brought on by an avionic system concern, the fleet was momentarily based in January 2022.

About David Cenciotti David Cenciotti is a reporter based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder as well as Editor of “The Aviationist”, among the globe’s most popular and also check out armed forces air travel blog sites. Because 1996, he has actually composed for significant around the world publications, consisting of Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and also lots of others, covering air travel, protection, battle, sector, criminal offense, cyberwar and also knowledge. He has actually reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and also Syria, and also flown numerous fight aircrafts with various flying force. He is a previous 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a personal pilot and also a grad in Computer Engineering. He has actually composed 5 publications and also added to much more ones.

The Italian Air Force Has Deployed Its Two F-35Bs To Iceland For The First Time

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The Italian Air Force Has Deployed Its Two F-35Bs To Iceland For The First Time
Main photo: data image of an Italian Air Force F-35B(Alessandro Fucito ). In packages: F-35s ops in Iceland(ItAF )Along with the 4 F-35As sustaining NATO’s

Icelandic Air Policing, the Italian Air Force has actually released its 2 F-35B STOVL(Short Take Off Vertical Landing)airplane for training in Iceland’s cool environment. For the 3rd time in the last 3 years, Italy has actually released its F-35 Lightning II airplane to Iceland, to sustain NATO’s Interim Air Policing objective “Airborne Surveillance as well as Interception Capabilities to fulfill Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs (ASIC-IPPN)”, much more generally referred to as Icelandic Air Policing. Sustained by greater than 130 armed forces as well as under the command of Col. Gianmarco Di Loreto, 4 F-35A coming from the 13 ° Gruppo(Squadron)of the 32 ° Stormo(Wing)of the Italian Air Force have actually accomplished QRA(Quick Reaction Alert)responsibilities from Keflavik International Airport: considering that the start of Operation Northern Lightning III, at the end of April 2022, the Italian F-35As have actually introduced 250 sorties, 28 T-Scramble (Training Alert separations)amounting to 433 trip hrs. F-35A of the Italian Air Force over Iceland.(All photos: ItAF unless mentioned)While releasing properties to Iceland is not brand-new to the Italians(this is the 3rd time the Italian F-35s run there as well as the 7th Italian involvement to the NATO Icelandic Air Policing goal overall), what is impressive is that the visibility of the Italian set in the High North for 60 days(the lengthiest in the nation)offered the possibility for the Italian Air Force to release its 2 F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing)

airplane to Keflavik for the extremely very first time. Two F-35As of the 32 ° Stormo over Iceland. For one week, both F-35Bs of the Aeronautica Militare have actually run from Keflavik to perform training goals in remote locations and also with chilly environment. The Italian Air Force released both possessions autonomously, many thanks to a”path”sustained by a KC-767A vessel of the 14 ° Stormo from Pratica di Mare accompanied by one C-130J from the 46 ^ Brigata Aerea in nautical SAR(Search as well as Rescue)arrangement. Many thanks to the vessel assistance, the F-35Bs flew straight from Amendola, in southeastern Italy, to Iceland. The 2 Italian Air Force F-35B throughout a training goal over Iceland(screenshot from ANSA.it video clip)The Italian Air Force thinks about the F-35B and also its STOVL ability a vital element of a bigger expeditionary system that makes the Air Force qualified to task power. If the existing strategies are verified, Italy will acquire a total amount of 90 F-35s: 60 F-35As and also 30 F-35Bs. Out of those 30 F-35Bs, 15 will certainly most likely to the Navy and also 15 to the Air Force. For the minute, the Italian Air Force has actually obtained both airframes that participated in the release to Keflavik(MM7453/32 -14 and also MM7455/32 -18). Right here’s what the previous ItAF Chief of Staff, Gen. Alberto Rosso, stated throughout the discussion of the F-35B at Pantelleria in July 2020, when its initial F-35B participated in an Expeditionary PoC as well as, sustained by a KC-130J vessel, released to Pantelleria, a little island in the Mediterranean Sea, to show the capability of the flying force to task as well as make use of the 5th generation airplane much from house, in a semi-permissive atmosphere, on an austere/bare path typically not useful by various other standard airplane as well as with restricted Force Protection offered by the host nation.:” This capacity is incredibly vital to deal with brand-new circumstances or scenarios like the one we had throughout the Gulf War. Our Tornado jets were released to an airbase [Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE] that was far from the location of procedures: this indicated that our airplane needed to lug as well as fly numerous hrs out a number of airborne refuelings prior to reaching their targets. The capability to run from much shorter paths can enable the choice of a closer airbase and also resolve the trouble. In regards to adaptability, simply believe that in Africa there have to do with 100 paths that have a size in between 2,800 and also 3,000 meters however there are 20 times as lots of paths in between 1,000 and also 1,500 meters in size

. Having the ability to utilize brief paths enables you to increase your capacity to release where required, in an easier as well as quicker way, particularly closer to the location of procedure. Having an airplane that can removing from much shorter paths permits extraordinary versatility also in those circumstances that are presently just hardly possible. In instance of dispute, airplane that have the ability to run from much shorter paths can likewise be distributed to raise their survivability. This versatility to run from bare/austere paths or perhaps freeways makes the air power extra uncertain as well as stands for an essential ability in any kind of circumstance. Therefore, after meticulously examining all the prices as well as circumstances, the Italian Air Force has actually recognized, as done by various other air arms, a combined fleet of F-35A and also B airplane, as one of the most reliable as well as financially hassle-free setup.”Procedure Northern Lighting III will certainly shut on Jul. 8, 2022.< img data-attachment-id="79942 "data-permalink=" https://theaviationist.com/2022/06/28/itaf-f-35b-deployed-iceland-first-time/f-35-iceland-new-3/"data-orig-file= "https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/F-35-Iceland-new-3.jpg"data-orig-size= "1024,658"data-comments-opened="0"data-image-meta =""aperture ":" 3.5", "credit rating":"","electronic camera": "NIKON D750","inscription ":"", "created_timestamp": "1653941378 ","copyright ":"","focal_length ":"14"," iso":"320","shutter_speed ":"0.003125", "title ":" ", "positioning":"1""data-image-title =" F-35 Iceland brand-new 3"data-image-description data-image-caption=" The Italian section of Operation Northern Lightning III"data-medium-file ="https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/the-italian-air-force-has-deployed-its-two-f-35bs-to-iceland-for-the-first-time-17.jpg "data-large-file ="https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/the-italian-air-force-has-deployed-its-two-f-35bs-to-iceland-for-the-first-time-5.jpg"loading ="careless "course= "size-large wp-image-79942 "src ="https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/the-italian-air-force-has-deployed-its-two-f-35bs-to-iceland-for-the-first-time-5.jpg"alt size="706 "elevation =" 454"srcset ="https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/the-italian-air-force-has-deployed-its-two-f-35bs-to-iceland-for-the-first-time-5.jpg 706w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/the-italian-air-force-has-deployed-its-two-f-35bs-to-iceland-for-the-first-time-17.jpg460w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/the-italian-air-force-has-deployed-its-two-f-35bs-to-iceland-for-the-first-time-18.jpg 128w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/the-italian-air-force-has-deployed-its-two-f-35bs-to-iceland-for-the-first-time-19.jpg 768w, https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/F-35-Iceland-new-3.jpg 1024w”dimensions=”(max-width”: 706px )100vw,”706px”>”The Italian section of Operation Northern Lightning III About David Cenciotti David Cenciotti is an independent reporter based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and also Editor of”The Aviationist”, among the globe’s most renowned as well as review armed forces aeronautics blog sites. Given that 1996, he has actually composed for significant globally publications, consisting of Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, as well as numerous others, covering air travel, protection, battle, sector, cyberwar, criminal activity as well as knowledge. He has actually reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia as well as Syria, and also flown numerous battle aircrafts with various flying force. He is a previous 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, an exclusive pilot as well as a grad in Computer Engineering. He has actually created 5 publications as well as added to much more ones.

Vermont Air National Guard’s F-35s On Their Way To Germany To Support NATO In Eastern Europe

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Vermont Air National Guard’s F-35s On Their Way To Germany To Support NATO In Eastern Europe
A VT ANG F-35A prepares for take off to Spangdahlem AB, Germany, on May 2, 2022. Note the RCS enhancers fitted to the aircraft.

F-35A Lightning II fifth generation aircraft from the Vermont Air National Guard departed to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

At least eight F-35A stealth aircraft, belonging to the 158th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force are currently deploying to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to support Enhanced Air Policing mission on NATO’s Eastern Flank. The aircraft launched from their base at Burlington ANGB, Vermont, early on May 2, 2022.

Supported by at least four tankers, the “Green Mountain Boys” of the 158th FW are due replace the F-35A jets belonging to the 388th FW and 419th FW  from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, that have been operating out of Spangdahlem since Feb. 16, 2022. In the beginning, the VT ANG will not completely replace the Hill AFB’s F-35s but they will complement the Hill AFB F-35s as the Lightning II jets of the various active, ANG and Reserve’s jets are expected to operate together from the German base for some weeks.

The images of the F-35As launching from Burlington ANGB, show that the aircraft were fitted with their RCS Enhancers/Radar Reflectors/Luneburg Lenses (as per normal procedure for ferry flights). It will be interesting to understand whether they will operate in “stealth mode” (without radar reflectors/Luneburg lenses) during their patrols over Eastern Europe, as done by the Hill’s F-35s.

<img data-attachment-id="79506" data-permalink="https://theaviationist.com/2022/05/02/vt-ang-f-35-to-spangdahlem/upcoming-april-f-35-night-flying-operations/" data-orig-file="https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VT-ANG-deploying-to-Spang-2.jpg" data-orig-size="1024,572" data-comments-opened="0" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"5","credit":"158th Fighter Wing","camera":"NIKON D5","caption":"An F-35A Lightning II pilot assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard, prepares for launch during routine flying operations at the Vermont Air National Guard base, South Burlington, Vermont, Sept. 23, 2020. The Vermont Air National Guard will begin three weeks of night flying operations starting Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by A1C Jana Somero)","created_timestamp":"1600833600","copyright":"Public Domain","focal_length":"70","iso":"100","shutter_speed":"5","title":"Upcoming April F-35 Night Flying Operations","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="Upcoming April F-35 Night Flying Operations" data-image-description data-image-caption="

File photo of an F-35A Lightning II pilot assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard, prepares for launch during routine flying operations at the Vermont Air National Guard base, South Burlington, Vermont, (U.S. Air National Guard photo by A1C Jana Somero)

” data-medium-file=”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/vermont-air-national-guards-f-35s-on-their-way-to-germany-to-support-nato-in-eastern-europe-5.jpg” data-large-file=”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/vermont-air-national-guards-f-35s-on-their-way-to-germany-to-support-nato-in-eastern-europe-2.jpg” loading=”lazy” class=”size-large wp-image-79506″ src=”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/vermont-air-national-guards-f-35s-on-their-way-to-germany-to-support-nato-in-eastern-europe-2.jpg” alt=”Vermont F-35″ width=”706″ height=”394″ srcset=”https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/vermont-air-national-guards-f-35s-on-their-way-to-germany-to-support-nato-in-eastern-europe-2.jpg 706w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/vermont-air-national-guards-f-35s-on-their-way-to-germany-to-support-nato-in-eastern-europe-5.jpg 460w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/vermont-air-national-guards-f-35s-on-their-way-to-germany-to-support-nato-in-eastern-europe-6.jpg 128w, https://getyourpilotslicense.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/vermont-air-national-guards-f-35s-on-their-way-to-germany-to-support-nato-in-eastern-europe-7.jpg 768w, https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VT-ANG-deploying-to-Spang-2.jpg 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 706px) 100vw, 706px”>

File photo of an F-35A Lightning II pilot assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard, prepares for launch during routine flying operations at the Vermont Air National Guard base, South Burlington, Vermont, (U.S. Air National Guard photo by A1C Jana Somero)

Airmen from the 158th FW started deploying to Europe aboard an Omni Air International B-767 on Apr. 29, 2022.

“We are proud to send our Airmen to support the collective defense of our allies and partners,” said Army Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, the adjutant general of Vermont in a public release. “This deployment demonstrates some of the strategic capabilities the Vermont Air National Guard can provide to the nation when needed.”

These regular deployments, part of a series of standard U.S. rotations in the European Area of Operations, are part of the U.S. commitment to training and interoperability with our European allies.

“Being called upon only four months out of conversion to an operational F-35 fighter wing is a testament to our team, their professionalism, commitment and proven capabilities,” said Air Force Col. David Shevchik, commander of the 158th Fighter Wing. “It is when we are needed most that we are at our best. The Green Mountain Boys are ready and proud to answer this call, and we’re grateful for the support of our families, employers and communities.”

The one to Europe amidst growing tensions with Russia following the invasion Ukraine, is the first Vermont Air National Guard deployment in 6 years. Previously, flying the F-16 “Viper” (as the aircraft is dubbed in the fighter pilots community) the Wing took part in several deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism. During 9/11, the Vermont Air National Guard rapidly mobilized to provide area security patrols over New York City, a mission they maintained for over 120 consecutive days. This short-term deployment is conducted in full coordination with host nations and NATO military authorities, and although temporary in nature, they are prudent measures to increase readiness and enhance NATOs collective defense during this period of uncertainty.

The 158th Fighter Wing ceased their F-16C/D Block 30 operations on Apr. 6, 2019, after flying the jet for 33 years. The first F-35A in 158th FW markings (AF17-5265) made its first flight from Lockheed Martin Ft. Worth facility, Texas, on Jul. 31, 2019. The first two ANG F-35A aircraft landed at their home in Burlington ANGB, Vermont, on Sept. 19, 2019.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

F-35A Destined To 6 ° Stormo Of The Italian Air Force Has Made Its Maiden Flight

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F-35A Destined To 6 ° Stormo Of The Italian Air Force Has Made Its Maiden Flight
The first F-35A very first to predestined 6 ° Stormo during its throughout flight initial Apr. 7, 2022.(Image credit score: Alessandro Maggia)The Lockheed Martin F-35A”6-01″is the very first stealth airplane predestined to 2nd Wing of the Italian Air Force that will certainly run the Lightning II: the 6 ° Stormo( Wing ). The F-35A MM7366/6 -01 (AL-16), the really initial to sporting activity the markings of the 6º Stormo, the 2nd Wing of the Aeronautica Militare(Italian Air Force), predestined to obtain the Lightning II stealth airplane,

made its very first trip from the Final Assembly and also Check Out(FACO)center at Cameri, in northwestern Italy, in the mid-day on Apr. 7, 2022. The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II will progressively change the Tornado IDS fleet that this year commemorates 40 years of Italian Air Force solution. The strategy has actually not been made main yet, according to the reports, at first, the F-35s of the “Diavoli Rossi” (Red Devils) of the 6 ° Stormo, will certainly run from Amendola Air Base, in southeastern Europe, residence of the 32 ° Stormo as well as its youngster device, the 13 ° Gruppo, the very first Italian armada to run the Lightning II (both the f-35b and also the f-35a version), the very first F-35 device in Europe to attain IOC (Initial Operational Capability) in 2018, the initial to release the jet under NATO command.

Another photo of MM7366/6 -01 throughout its first trip(Image credit report: Oscar Bernardi )At a later phase, the F-35s will certainly run from Ghedi Air Base, situated near Brescia, in north Italy, house of the 6 ° Stormo, as well as its 3 armadas: the 102º Gruppo [that is the Tornado OCU (Operational Conversion Unit)

] and also the 154º Gruppo, geared up with the Tornado IDS, and also 155º Gruppo geared up with the Tornado ECR. Throughout the historical initial trip, the MM7366/6 -01, with the particular Red Devil symbol of the Stormo on its tail, was accompanied by a solitary seater Eurofighter Typhoon showing off the markings of the 36 ° Stormo. This F-2000A flew as chase to the F-35A.(Image credit score: Oscar Bernardi)A Tornado ECR of the 155 ° Gruppo of the 6 ° Stormo, an additional armada predestined to get the F-35A in the future to perform the SEAD(Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses)/ DEAD(Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses )objective likewise performed a reduced pass at Cameri. The Tornado ECR on method to Cameri on Apr. 7, 2022.(Image credit report: Oscar Bernardi)We have actually lately participated in a goal aboard a Tornado ECR of the 155 ° Gruppo that entailed additionally 2 F-35As of the 32 ° Stormo and also a Tornado IDS of the 154 ° Gruppo: we will certainly release a thorough record on the future and also present capacities of the Italian”Wild Weasels”quickly. About David Cenciotti David Cenciotti is a self-employed reporter based in Rome, Italy.

He is the Founder and also Editor of”The Aviationist”, among the globe’s most well-known as well as review armed forces air travel blog sites. Given that 1996, he has actually created for significant around the world publications, consisting of Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and also lots of others, covering air travel, protection, battle, sector, criminal activity, cyberwar as well as knowledge. He has actually reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and also Syria, as well as flown a number of fight airplanes with various flying force. He is a previous 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a personal pilot and also a grad in Computer Engineering. He has actually created 5 publications as well as added to much more ones.

South Korean F-35A Performs Belly Landing Due To ‘Avionic System Issues’

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File photo of the first ROKAF’s F-35A during its first flight in 2018 (Image credit: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Photo by Angel DelCueto)

It’s the first known gear-up landing of an F-35.

An F-35A of the ROKAF (Republic Of Korea Air Force) carried out an emergency landing at 12.51 PM on Jan. 4, 2022, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

According to the report, the 5th generation aircraft was involved in a training mission when an avionic system issues forced the pilot to carry out a gear up landing at Seosan airbase, 151 kilometers southwest of Seoul. The emergency apparently marked the type’s first ever belly landing.

“Before the landing, the Air Force mobilized a fire engine to apply special foam on the runway, which prevented the jet’s fuselage from sustaining any serious damage,” Yonhap reported. While the real extent of the damage to the aircraft has not been revealed, the mishap left the pilot unharmed.

A joint investigation with Lockheed Martin will determine the root cause of the incident; meanwhile, ROKAF will suspend all of its F-35A fighters pending the probe.

The Republic of Korea selected the F-35 at the end of its F-X III fighter acquisition program with the signing of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments on Sept. 30, 2014. So far, ROKAF has received more than 30 aircraft out of 40 ordered F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant jets. In December 2017, South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration established a process for procuring the 20 additional aircraft, the Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple government sources.

The first F-35A for the ROKAF, known as aircraft AW-1, took flight in Fort Worth, Texas, in March 2018. In the same year, the first F-35A was delivered to Luke AFB, Arizona, for pilot training while in 2019, the first F-35As were delivered to their permanent base in South Korea.

The ROKAF’s 17th Fighter Wing and its two child units, the 151 Fighter Squadron and 152 Fighter Squadron, operate the F-35 out of Cheongju Air Base, southeast of Seoul.

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force Has Declared Its F-35A Operational

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Two Dutch F-35s in flight. (Image credit: KLu).

The Dutch F-35A aircraft have achieved the IOC (Initial Operational Capability).

On Dec. 27, 2021, the Netherlands MOD and Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNlAF) have officially declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for their F-35A fleet. As a consequence, the Netherlands have become the eighth country with the RNlAF being the 12th military service to declare IOC for its F-35 fleet.

The IOC “certifies” that the RNlAF is able to deploy a small contingent of 4 F-35As with personnel and equipment anywhere in the world for a short period of time: in other words, the Dutch Lightnings can be deployed operationally in theatre, to support national and multi-national operations.

The IOC milestone was achieved after going through several steps and a series of exercises at home and abroad, including a 9,000-km-long surprise attack on a Dutch Range as part of a “Rapid Reaction Test”, and exercise Frisian Lightning II that saw the 322 Sqn move from Leeuwarden to Volkel to prepare the unit for a deployment in the shortest possible time. In addition, the knowledge gained during the Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) has led to this milestone.

A total of 24 F-35As have been delivered to the RNLAF so far. The first operational F-35s arrived in the Netherlands from the Cameri FACO (Final Assembly and Check Out) in 2019. Dutch crews have surpassed more than 9,085 flight hours to date, with 55 pilots and 262 maintainers supporting the fleet.

“The declaration of IOC ushers in a new era of air power that gives the RNLAF transformational capabilities,” F-35 Program Vice President and General Manager Bridget Lauderdale said. “I am proud of the Lockheed Martin team’s commitment to delivering the most effective, survivable and connected fighter to our partners in the Netherlands.”

According to the current plans, by the end of 2024, 46 F-35As will replace the current fleet of F-16 MLU in RNlAF service.

A Dutch F-35A (Image credit: KLu)

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

RAF Lakenheath Has Become The First Base in Europe To Receive U.S. Air Force F-35s

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One of first four F-35A jets landing at RAF Lakenheath on Dec. 15, 2021. (All images: Stewart Jack)

The first F-35A aircraft of the newly formed 495th Fighter Squadron have arrived in the UK.

Four F-35A aircraft departed from Fort Worth, Texas, arrived at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, on Dec. 15, 2021, marking the arrival of the first Europe-based USAF’s Lightning II 5th generation.

Flying as RETRO 31-34 and supported by BLUE81, a KC-135R #59-1495, and BLUE82, a KC-10A Extender #84-0189, the four aircraft (#19-5473, #19-5474, #19-5475 and #19-5476) approached RAF Lakenheath as a 4 ship at 13.50L before braking off and then all of them carrying out a missed approached before landing on RWY24.

Touchdown!

As you can notice in the shots taken by The Aviationist‘s contributor Stewart Jack, the aircraft sport the 495th Fighter Squadron emblem on the air intake as well as the LN code, the shield of United States Air Forces in Europe as well as the motto “Mala Ipsa Nova” (Latin for “Bad News Itself”) on the twin tails. The 495th FS “Valkyries” is the first Europe-based U.S. F-35 squadron: it was re-activated on Oct. 1, 2021, at a specific, symbolic time, 8:49 and 50 second, that is to say exactly 30 years since the former 495th Tactical Fighter Squadron was redesignated as Fighter Squadron, shortly before being inactivated in 1991.

Close up showing the emblem on the air intake.
The tail section.

The 495th Fighter Squadron is scheduled to be fully mission capable in 2022 with a total of 27 aircraft and 60 personnel.

RETRO 31-34 approaching the overhead break.

“Our coalition forces train and fight in the most dynamic theater, requiring the most advanced platforms,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa commander in a public release. “The Valkyries are leading our F-35 integration across Europe. We’ve come a long way, and now we’re extending our reach as a coalition force and what we will accomplish together.”

On short final for landing.

“‘Valkyries’ epitomizes the force’s move toward more inclusivity and equally represents the fifth-generation stealth fighter’s air superiority,” said Lt. Col. Ian McLaughlin, 495th Fighter Squadron commander. “Like the Valkyries themselves, we’ll be vital to determining the fate of our adversaries in the battlespace.”

Before they touched down at RAF Lakenheath, all the F-35s performed a go around.

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

New Video Of F-35A Dropping Two B61 Nuclear Bombs Over Tonopah Test Range During Recent Tests Just Released

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A screenshot of the video showing the latest F-35A DCA test.

The footage shows the recent F-35A Full Weapon System Demonstration (FWSD) with two B61-12 mock nuclear bombs.

As we have already reported in detail recently, the F-35 Joint Program Office has announced earlier this month that the F-35A successfully executed the first Full Weapon System Demonstration with the B61-12, considered the “graduation” flight test exercise for achieving nuclear design certification from an air-delivered platform.

The demonstration involved two F-35As assigned to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, flown by pilots from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, part of the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group that released two B61-12 Joint Test Assets at Tonopah Test Range: after taking off from Nellis AFB, Nevada, the two aircraft flew for 160 miles and conducted two separate drops of high-fidelity, non-nuclear mock B61-12 JTAs at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range.

The test, “a major milestone towards achieving F-35A nuclear certification” that “remains on track to meet NATO’s January 2024 need date” was carried out on Sept. 21, 2021. While the Lightning II is not yet fully certified to conduct real world nuclear operations, the successful completion of this Full Weapon System Demonstration concludes on-aircraft testing for F-35A’s initial nuclear certification effort. The nuclear certification is broken into two phases: nuclear design certification and nuclear operational certification and this test concluded the first phase. Once fully certified, the F-35A will be the only DCA (Dual Capable Aircraft) to carry the nuclear weapon in the internal weapon bay: all the other tactical aircraft, including F-16, F-15E and Tornado, carry the nuke on the external pylons.

The latest test event was made public on Oct. 4 but the video of the actual release has been published on the DVIDS network only on Oct. 29, 2021: although it’s not the first time the video of a B61 dropped from an F-35A is released, the footage is interesting as it shows the opening of the internal weapon bay, the release of the bomb, and the immediate closure of the bay doors to achieve the Low Observability.

Then, you can also watch the two spin rocket motors firing during the descent, with the contrails forming a helical shape as the bomb starts to spin on its longitudinal axis: these are used to improve stability during the bomb’s descent and increase accuracy (with a reported 30 m Circular Error Probability – although accuracy is not a big issue when it deals with nuclear ordnance).

As we explained in our previous article: “the B61 entered service 50 years ago and has undergone a Life-Extention Program (LEP) to consolidate and replace four legacy bomb variants, the B61 -3, -4, -7, and -11 mods, into the B61-12. The refurbished B61-12 will allow the retirement of the larger B83, becoming the only remaining gravity delivered nuke in the inventory. The bomb will carry a low-yield nuclear warhead with four yield options, reportedly 0.3 kilotons, 1.5 kilotons, 10 kilotons and 50 kilotons, instead of larger warheads like the models it is replacing (which can reach 400 kilotons depending on the variants).”

“The 12-foot, 825-pound bomb is designed to be delivered from the air in either ballistic or guided-gravity drop modes, thanks to a new Boeing-built tail assembly that includes an Inertial Navigation System (INS) precision-guidance package and two spin rocket motors that improve the bomb’s stability on its longitudinal axis during the descent. The LEP is said to be increasing the B61’s accuracy so much (with a reported 30 m Circular Error Probability instead of the original 100 m) that it will have the same capability against hardened targets as the much more powerful weapons it is replacing.”

By the way, NATO has just carried out its annual nuclear deterrence exercise, “Steadfast Noon“, that this year took place in Southern Europe with DCA aircraft and non-nuclear capable aircraft that support the mission under the SNOWCAT (Support of Nuclear Operations With Conventional Air Tactics) program, deployed to Aviano AB and Ghedi AB, in Italy.

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.