Members of the Virginia Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Squadron, flying four F-22s from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, conducted their first operational integration-training mission with F-35 strike fighters at Eglin AFB, Fla., according to a release. “The F-22 and F-35 squadrons integrated very well,” said Maj. Steven Frodsham, pilot with the 149th FS. “The lessons learned and tactics developed from this training opportunity will help to form the foundation for future growth in our combined fifth generation fighter tactics,” he said. The F-22 and F-35 pilots flew offensive counterair, defensive counterair, and interdiction missions during the Nov. 5 drills, states Eglin’s Nov. 17 release. “When the F-22 and F-35 come together, it brings out the strength of both airplanes,” said Lt. Col. Matt Renbarger, commander of Eglin’s 58th Fighter Squadron, an F-35A training unit. “The F-22 was built to be an air-to-air superiority fighter and the F-35 was built to be a strike fighter. These airplanes complement each other and we’re trying to learn how to take that from a design perspective into a tactical arena and be the most effective combat team we can be,” he said.
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.