US F-35 fighters arrived to UAE to perform ‘combat missions in the Middle East’
ABU DHABI, (BM) – The United States Air Force deployed at its Al-Dhafra air base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) another, for the third time, batch of the latest fifth-generation F-35 multirole fighters, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Deployment in strict secrecy was completed on May 20, but official information about it began to arrive only at the beginning of this month.
According to the American edition of Air Force Times, the transfer of pilots from the 388th and 419th aviation units of the Hill base in Utah was carried out for the third time in 12 months. At the indicated air force facility in the United States, 78 F-35 fighters are based. How many of them are deployed in Al-Dhafra is not specified, while it is emphasized that the planes arrived to perform “combat missions in the Middle East.”
The transfer of combat aircraft “demonstrates the readiness of our pilots, our weapons system and its importance both for the US Air Force and for our national defense mission,” the Air Force Times quoted Colonel Stephen Behmer, commander of the 388th air link.
The expanded squadron also includes reserve pilots and their accompanying technical personnel.
F-35 pilots from the 34th fighter squadron were deployed from the Hill base in November 2019 to the UAE as part of a six-month deployment. Most of the pilots of this US aviation division remain in the Middle East, but are expected to return to their permanent base soon. The 34th Squadron carried out combat and other missions, including “air support for ground operations and naval escorts that helped deter opponents in the region,” notes the Air Force Times.
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