Air Force F-35As will return to Europe to fly as part of the Paris Air Show in June, the service announced as the first deployment wrapped up. On Sunday, the Air Force announced that F-35As will take part in the air show following speculation that the jets might not. The participation is planned to “demonstrate the ability of the Air Force, and our international partners, to deliver a broad range of combat power,” the Air Force announcement said. Eight F-35As and about 200 airmen on May 7 returned to Hill AFB, Utah, from the jet’s first deployment to Europe. During the deployment, the aircraft flew more 76 sorties and more than 154 flight hours, according to a news release. The jets forward deployed to Estonia and Bulgaria during the deployment.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.