RAF F-35B Fighters “Attack” France Airfields In An Exercise
The Royal Air Force has sent four F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft to participate in an air combat training exercise. The F-35s deployed belong to the 617 squadron and have been conducting air combat training partnering with NATO and European forces in the Bay of Biscay.
The exercise is named “Ocean Hit” and among other aircraft that participated in the exercise were Greek F-16s, Swiss F-18s, French Rafales, and Mirage 2000s. In total, 20 combat military aircraft participated in the “Ocean Hit” exercise.
In this exercise, various military aircraft were assigned different combat roles. British F-35 fighters conducted simulated air attacks while other partner aircraft carried out defeating enemy air defense systems. During the exercise RAF’s only air-to-air tanker aircraft Voyager refueled the participating fighter jets to increase their air combat sortie duration. Ocean Hit was conducted to demonstrate the RAF’s ability to integrate with a variety of partner nations in defending the sky.
Executive Officer of the 617 Squadron said that,
“This has been a demanding but extremely productive exercise, where the Lightning F-35B’s have again demonstrated their potency. Working with NATO and European partners in a realistic combat scenario provides an opportunity to integrate complimentary capabilities and learn from each other. In particular, we have learnt some valuable lessons regarding fast jet air to air integration with partner nations.”
After the exercise, the participants shared feedback on their respective missions to further develop mutual understanding. These exercises ensure the ability of NATO and partner nations to collectively respond to any future threats.