AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
F-35A Lightning II pilots assigned to the 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently flew a joint-combat operation with coalition partners over Southwest Asia.
The 380th Air Expeditionary Wing conducts combat taskings, directed by the president, in support of contingency operations to protect national interests in the United States Central Command's area of responsibility.
Brig. Gen. Larry Broadwell, 380 AEW commander, observed the mission first hand.
“I have always been thoroughly impressed by our coalition partner’s Air Force,” Broadwell said. “Their Air Force is as capable as any on the planet, I’m thankful we’re on the same team.”
U.S. partners add a unique piece to the puzzle of air defense in the AOR.
“Our primary mission is to support coalition assets through the role of Air to Air Refueling,” said the coalition squadron leader. “We form part of a large, multi-national tanker effort … available for taskings in support of counter-Daesh activities encompassing the U.S. led counter-terrorism operation Inherent Resolve,” a coalition squadron leader said.
A typical sortie will last several hours, delivering approximately 80 thousand pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft. On this mission, more than 70,000 pounds of fuel was transferred to the F-35s as they flew over the AOR.
The bond between coalition force members continues to be strong as rotations come and go.
“Coalition partners are our asymmetric advantage…together, we compete, deter, and if deterrence fails, fight shoulder to shoulder to advance our nations’ interests,” Broadwell said. “With these partners, I’m confident we can tackle any challenge we face.”