PHOTOS: Fourth- and Fifth-Gen Fighters Hold Combat Training in Hawaii

A combination of fourth- and fifth-generation fighters will wrap up a large-scale simulated combat exercise around Hawaii in the coming days.

Sentry Aloha, which first began more than 20 years ago, is a fighter-focused exercise hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard. The latest edition began May 29 and will last through June 12. F-22s from the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam are flying alongside F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-35 Lightning IIs and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, as well as KC-135 and KC-46 tankers and some C-130s.

The biannual fifth and fourth-gen combat training returned in January this year after a two-year break. Hawaii’s strategic Pacific location makes it an ideal military training ground as Sentry Aloha keeps growing and evolving with each iteration.

This iteration had a total of 42 aircraft from nine states, with 1,060 personnel participating. A spokesperson for the Hawaii Air National Guard’d 154th Wing confirmed the participating aircraft with Air & Space Forces Magazine:

  • F-22 and KC-135 from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
  • F-16 from the 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, N.J.
  • F-35 from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
  • F-16 from the 162nd Wing, Tucson Air National Guard Base, Ariz.
  • F-16, A-10, KC-135, and HC-130J from the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center, Ariz.
  • KC-46 from the 157th Air Refueling Wing, Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H.
  • HC-130 from the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Air National Guard Base, Calif.
  • MQ-9 from Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Hawaii.
  • C-130H aircraft from the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center and the 189th Airlift Wing, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
  • KC-135 from the 186th Air Refueling Wing, Key Field Air National Guard Base, Miss.

The spokesperson declined to say the number of each aircraft type, citing operational security.

The fighters and other aircraft are manuevering through Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, with additional operations occurring around Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay and Kona International Airport in Kalaoa, where the aircraft are staged for the training.

“The state offers great airspace and weather to maximize training such as Agile Combat Employment and distributed operations,” Maj. Michael Oliver, the exercise director and a pilot of the 154th Wing, said in a release.

The 154th Wing is the largest wing in the Air National Guard, hosting Raptors, Stratotankers, and C-17 Globemasters, backed by some 2,500 personnel. In April, the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons of the Wing deployed their F-22s to Kadena Air Base in Japan as part of the rotation to maintain a constant fighter presence at the key location.