The Ogden Air Logistics Complex on June 30 delivered the 12th modified F-35A to Hill AFB, Utah, reaching the magic number needed for initial operational capability. The logistics center finished a depot-level modification to the F-35A’s fuel system, alleviating an overpressure condition during elevated G-maneuvers, Capt. Jeremy Geidel, deputy commander of the 570th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said in a news release. The delivery to the 388th Fighter Wing and its associate unit the Reserve 419th Fighter Wing gives the two wings 12 F-35As, the minimum required to reach IOC. The Air Force expects to declare initial operational capability between August and December. Hill is slated to eventually have three operational F-35 squadrons, with 78 total aircraft by the end of 2019. (See also: F-35 Passes Deployment Test.)
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.