Aiding Fifth-Gen Jarheads

Air Force tacticians and aggressors from Nellis AFB, Nev., recently aided the Marine Corps’ first integration of the F-35B Lightning II int?o a large-scale employment exercise at the Nevada Test and Training Range. “We’ve leveraged the Air Force heavily because the Air Force is way ahead of the game in terms of fourth to fifth integration—integrating fourth-gen assets like the F-15 with fifth-gen assets like the F-22,” said Marine Corps Maj. Geoff Franks, Marine Aviation Weapons Tactics Squadron 1 instructor pilot in a release. Marine F-35s are slated to reach initial operating c?apability this summer and “we need to be postured to teach tactics … so the marine F-18 fleet will be able to start integrating with the F-35s,” he added. The F-35s flew contested ground-strike sorties alongside F-18s, during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course capstone exercise, April 21. The Air Force Weapons School at Nellis is implementing a three-phase plan to build F-35 weapons officers for the first operational F-35 squadrons, by leveraging expertise from across USAF’s fighter community.