Weapons School Introduces F-35 to Integration Phase

A pair of F-35As assigned to the 16th Weapons Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., participated in the Air Force Weapons School’s “integration phase” for the first time, according to a July 20 release. During the capstone large force employment training exercise, held July 8-24, F-35s flew a wide range of missions as part of the course. Even though the first F-35A weapons instructor course won’t start until January 2018, the strike fighter flew as part of Class 15As integration phase allowing students to train with the “unique capabilities” of the aircraft, states the release. Aircrews, intelligence airmen, and maintainers with the 16th WPS and 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron helped the F-35s prosecute missions, such as counter air, suppression of enemy air defenses, and air interdiction. The two F-35As also participated in two of the most complex missions in the course, advanced SEAD and offensive counter air against “near peer” simulated adversaries. The F-35s were tasked with locating adversary surface-to-air missile radars and then suppressing them with advanced electronic warfare capabilities or destroying them with weapons.