Squadron of F-35 Lightning IIs arrive in U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility Published July 26, 2023 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- As part of a pre-announced Department of Defense deployment, a squadron of U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning IIs has arrived in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility. While deployed in support of Air Forces Central missions, the 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Hill AFB, Utah will help defend interests, promote regional security and safeguard freedom of navigation in the region. In coordination with our regional allies, partners and the U.S. Navy, the F-35’s will partner with A-10 and F-16s already in theater helping monitor the Strait of Hormuz. The F-35’s increased capacity and capability will allow the U.S. to fly in contested airspace across the theater if required. This deployment demonstrates the U.S.’s commitment to ensure peace and security in the region, through maritime support and support to the coalition’s enduring mission to defeat ISIS in Syria. Due to operational security and host nation requests, we cannot discuss the length of the deployment or specific locations.