The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has deployed a small number of F-35A Lightning II aircraft, starting from the April 15, 2017 on a long-planned training deployment to Europe. The aircraft are scheduled to conduct training with other U.S. and NATO aircraft based in Europe for several weeks as part of the European Reassurance Initiative.
According to the Department, this training deployment signifies an important milestone and natural progression of the F-35 program, allowing the Air Force to further demonstrate the operational capabilities of the fifth generation fighter aircraft. It also assists in refining requirements for eventually basing the F-35A in Europe, which is scheduled to receive the aircraft in the early 2020s.
Once the aircraft arrive in Europe, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. European Command will release additional information as it becomes available about the F-35A's training deployment.
The F-35A is a fifth generation fighter that provides the joint warfighter unprecedented global precision attack capability against current and emerging threats, while complementing the Air Force's air superiority fleet, according to the DoD.