Fifth Gen Pow Wow

Pacific Air Forces will host a symposium this month with joint forces, as well as allies, such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea, to figure out how best to capitalize on the new capabilities coming to the theater, including how best to interoperate, PACAF boss Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy told reporters at AWS17 on March 2. The Marine Corps deployed the F-35B to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, last month, marking the Joint Strike Fighter’s first overseas deployment. Both O’Shaughnessy and Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle have said the US Air Force will send its F-35A variant to the theater in the near future. And, international partners are expected to start receiving F-35s—Japan’s Air Self Defense Force was the first foreign military sales partner to receive the fifth generation fighter in December 2016. “We have more than a decade of experience with the F-35 and our F-22s, so we’re trying to tie together the experiences we had with the F-22 and bring that together with the F-35 so we can bring the entire force up to a higher level of capability,” said O’Shaughnessy. He said the symposium will not just cover “the flying part of it, it’s also the logistics part of it, [and] it’s the maintaining of the fleet.” He added, “It’s important we send the very best we have to the Indo-Asia-Pacific … We have to maintain that competitive advantage. We never want a fair fight. We always want to overwhelm and the F-35 is part of that.”