US To Deploy Fifth-Gen F-35 Jet Next Year

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  • 03:22 PM, September 15, 2015
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US To Deploy Fifth-Gen F-35 Jet Next Year
US To Deploy Fifth-Gen F-35 Jet Next Year

The US will possibly deploy the fifth generation F-35 fighter jet following the completion of its initial operating capability (IOC) next year.

General Hawk Carlisle, in charge of the Air Combat Command, could decide to deploy the F-35 jets before the August 1, 2016.

"When you're at CENTCOM, you don't request a specific jet, you request the capability," Major General Jeffrey Harrigian was quoted as saying on Monday at the Air Force Association's Air and Space Conference by AirForceTimes. "When we declare IOC, the F-35 will be on the list of capabilities that will be available." he added. 

The IOC service in the F-35 jets still have to be completed by the deployment date. It will possibly include around 12-14 F-35 aircraft, 30 pilots, 240 maintainers and support personnel.

Set for August, the first squadron will be tasked with close air support, interdiction of enemy aircraft, and suppression and destruction of enemy air defense.

The US Air Force has 74 F-35A jets and more than 2,000 service members practiced as maintainers of the aircraft.

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