The F-35 is lethal and survivable in almost any environment, but it’s just a machine, unable to do anything without a skilled pilot. Those pilots need gear to interface with the jet, operate and survive.
Outfitting the pilots is the job of the Airmen in the 388th Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment shop. A handful are currently deployed to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, for Red Flag 19-1.
Red Flag is the Air Force’s premier combat training exercise where units from across the Air Force join with allied nations in a “blue force” to combat a “red force” in a variety of challenging scenarios over three weeks.