Members of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., last week surpassed 100 sorties in the Air Force’s F-35A strike fighter variant since beginning flight operations there in March. The wing, which runs Eglin’s joint F-35 schoolhouse, reached the milestone on Aug. 16 during a two-ship training mission, said unit officials. Air Force and Marine Corps pilots are now flying morning and afternoon sorties every day, depending on the weather, they said. In all, the wing has completed almost 200 total sorties with its F-35As and Marine Corps F-35Bs. In mid July, the wing surpassed 100 total sorties.
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.