Two years after the first F-35A weapons load crews were certified, Air Education and Training Command dropped the first two live bombs from the fifth generation aircraft over the range at Eglin AFB, Fla. The 33rd Fighter Wing loaded the GBU-12s aboard six F-35s, dropping two over the Eglin range, states the release. “This further proves our airmen and sailors are the lethality behind this weapons systems,” said Col. Lance Pilch, the 33rd FW commander, in a Jan. 21 release.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.