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USAF F-35As deploy to austere Middle East airbase

14 August 2019
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Two F-35As are seen at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia that is probably Al-Azraq airbase in Jordan. Source: US Air Forces Central Command

A detachment of US Air Force F-35A Lightnings has carried out the first deployment of the stealth aircraft to a temporary operating site in the Middle East, US Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) announced on 12 August.

It said the F-35As from the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS) and support personnel from the 380th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron relocated from Al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates to an "undisclosed location in Southwest Asia" for Exercise 'Agile Lightning', which was held from 4 to 7 August.

"Exercise 'Agile Lightning' is a demonstration of the agile basing concepts practised by US Air Force fighter squadrons from their home bases," Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Arki, the commander of the 4th EFS, said. "The 'Fightin' Fuujins' of the 4th EFS successfully deployed a small detachment of aircraft and personnel to a forward location, supporting combat operations from that location for a given period of time, and then redeployed back to our primary operating location."

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