The Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., has activated the 461st Flight Test Squadron to support the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force. (We missed this Nov. 29 news release.) The unit’s commander, Lt. Col. Ed Cassidy, noted that the JSF team already had “completed the review of 12 test plans … and we’ve seen the first engine run out at Fort Worth, Tex.,” among other accomplishments. His unit will oversee continued facility upgrades and the fighter’s first flight, slated for this month.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.