F-35As Coming to Nellis for Operational Testing

Four F-35A strike fighters are scheduled to arrive at Nellis AFB, Nev., at the end of the month to begin the type’s first operational tests, announced base officials. “Nowhere else in the [Defense Department’s] F-35 program . . . is anyone doing any kind of operational test yet. It’s all on the developmental test side,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Wilson, 53rd Wing F-35 integration chief at Nellis. Under the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, Nellis’ F-35 work will primarily focus on developing F-35 combat tactics and how the aircraft will team with other Air Force assets, according to the base’s Feb. 13 release. As the F-35A transitions from developmental testing at Edwards AFB, Calif., to more employment trials, Nellis’ F-35 test force will grow to 12 aircraft, states the release. The Fighter Weapons School on base will also get F-35As, eventually operating 24 of them. (Nellis report by SrA. Jack Sanders) (See also Thirty-six F-35s for Nellis.)