Message to Iran? US Air Force show off 52 fully-armed stealth fighter jets

Message to Iran? US Air Force show off 52 fully-armed stealth fighter jets

Fifty-two is the number of American diplomats and civilians seized by Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, and the number of targets that Trump has th

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Fifty-two is the number of American diplomats and civilians seized by Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, and the number of targets that Trump has threatened to strike in Iran using stealth fighter jets if the regime retaliates over Soleimani’s death.

Dramatic picture shows runway packed with fully-armed stealth fighter jets at Hill Air Force base. This is the picture that demonstrates the air power of the US Air Force as more than 50 armed F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets line up to launch in rapid succession after taxiing on to the runway.

The exercise was a test of fighter pilots with the 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th FW, which command 78 aircraft of the US Air Force, ability to deploy en masse and while the air force was keen to point out that the pre-scheduled operation was not carried out in response to current events, it comes amid rising tensions between US and Iran following the death of  Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani in an US air strike on January 3.

The 52 F-35A jets, which are understood to be worth about £3.2 billion, took off from Utah’s Hill Air Force Base during the combat power exercise which the US Air Force said was part of normal, scheduled training operations. A US air force spokesperson said: “Currently, the wings fly 30-60 sorties per day from Hill’s flightline. Launching aircraft from multiple squadrons simultaneously presents various challenges and allows the wings to evaluate the capabilities of maintenance professionals, as well as pilots and command and control teams.”

The air force says that, as the service’s only combat capable F-35A units the wings must be prepared to launch any number of aircraft to support national defence at a moment’s notice. Last year, the wings began regularly supporting combat operations with the F-35A in consecutive deployments.

The first F-35A arrived at the Hill Air Force base about four years ago and the fighter wing units have been training pilots and carrying out large scale combat exercises ever since. The wings have also supported two Middle East combat deployments. They deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates from April to October 2019, conducting combat operations in support of the General Command mission in the region.