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4th Fighter Squadron enhances interoperability during Atlantic Trident 21

four fighter aircraft flying towards the camera, tilted as if all about to fly around the photographer.

Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and two Dassault Rafales assigned to the 1/4 Gascogne Fighter Squadron, 113 Saint-Dizier-Robinson air base, France, break formation during flight May 18, 2021 over France. The flight was apart of the Atlantic Trident 21 exercise which is a joint, multinational exercise involving service members from the U.S., France and the U.K., and is aimed at enhancing fourth and fifth generation integration, combat readiness and fighting capabilities, through conducting complex air operations in a contested multinational joint force environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Cook)

Four fighter aircraft flying in a diamond formation, looking at them from above

A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II, two Dassault Rafales and a Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fly in formation May 19, 2021, over France. The flight was apart of the Atlantic Trident 21 exercise which is a joint, multinational exercise involving service members from the U.S., France and the U.K., and is aimed at enhancing fourth and fifth generation integration, combat readiness and fighting capabilities, through conducting complex air operations in a contested multinational joint force environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Cook)

Pilot in a flight suit standing in front of an aircraft

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joshua Arki, 4th FS commander, participates in the tri-lateral exercise, which is aimed at enhancing fourth and fifth generation integration, combat readiness and fighting capabilities, through conducting complex air operations in a contested multinational joint force environment. U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft and Airmen from the 4th Fighter Squadron, compromised of active duty Airmen from the 388th Fighter Wing and reservists from the 419th FW, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, are participating in Atlantic Trident taking place at Mont-de-Marsan Air Base, France, May 17-28, 2021. (Courtesy photo)

Two fighter aircraft flying towards the camera, one on top of the other.

Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and two Dassault Rafales assigned to the 1/4 Gascogne Fighter Squadron, 113 Saint-Dizier-Robinson air base, France, break formation during flight May 18, 2021 over France. The flight was apart of the Atlantic Trident 21 exercise which is a joint, multinational exercise involving service members from the U.S., France and the U.K., and is aimed at enhancing fourth and fifth generation integration, combat readiness and fighting capabilities, through conducting complex air operations in a contested multinational joint force environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Cook)

MONT-DE-MARSAN, France --

U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft and Airmen from the 4th Fighter Squadron, compromised of active duty Airmen from the 388th Fighter Wing and reservists from the 419th FW, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, are participating in Atlantic Trident taking place at Mont-de-Marsan Air Base, France, May 17-28, 2021.

Atlantic Trident 21, is a joint, multinational exercise involving service members from the U.S., France and the U.K., and is aimed at enhancing fourth and fifth generation integration, combat readiness and fighting capabilities, through conducting complex air operations in a contested multinational joint force environment.

“Interoperability is essential to joint and coalition warfighting. It multiplies the effects of the battle-tested principles of unity of effort and unity of command that are vital to combat success,” said Lt. Col. Joshua “CATA” Arki, 4th FS commander. “We must work together with our sister services and allies before conflicts arise to ensure that operating in an integrated manner is in our blood.”

Arki said that 5th Generation aircraft bring game-changing situational awareness to the air domain, which enhances overall aerial interoperability.

“The pilots that fly these aircraft have the tools and training to act as “quarterbacks” in the sky,” said Arki. “Thus enabling mission command and decentralized execution where it is needed the most: at the point of attack.”

The F-35A is the U.S. Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter. With its aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics, the F-35A provides next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability for the United States and allied nations.

“Advances in datalink, sensors, weapons, and the iterative evolution of tactics developed through exercises like Atlantic Trident dramatically improve interoperability,” said Arki. “5th Generation aircraft must work in concert with other 4th Generation aircraft, utilizing their transformational strengths to act as a force multiplier to address the aerial threats of tomorrow.”

Exercises like Atlantic Trident 21, underscore the steadfast U.S. commitment to the region and enhance operational synchronization with NATO allies and partners.

This is the 388th FW’s third deployment to Europe, the first time U.S. F-35As have deployed to France and the first time exercise Atlantic Trident has taken place in Europe.

The shared history of the French, United Kingdom, and United States is a foundational and strategic advantage for us,” said Arki. “It forms the bedrock that supports our personal relationships, operational integration, and shared values. It is an honor to fly and train alongside our allies.”