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F-35A Lightning II Flying Over Japan Looks Like a Blunt Iron Dagger

For one reason or another, the world’s militaries like to flex their muscles the most in the closing stages of the year. Americans are no exception, and they’ve been doing this all over the world, with their allies, in the last month of 2021.
F-35A Lightning II over Japan 13 photos
F-35A Lightning II at Thunder and Lightning Over ArizonaF-35A Lightning II on vertical ascentF-35 Lightning buzzing the CN TowerF-35A Lighting IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 LightningF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 Lightning cruising subsonic into the sunsetF-35A Lightning II demo team schedule
Back at the beginning of December, something called Operation Iron Dagger took place over in Japan, where the USAF sent the mightiest of its planes to train alongside the Japanese and their hardware, including the rare-in-the-sky Mitsubishi F-2s, or the Viper Zeros as they’re also called.

As usual, the U.S. Air Force and other organizations present in Japan for Iron Dagger missed no opportunity of snapping the hardware in action on film, to be shared at a later date with the general public. Thanks to this, we got to see, for instance, an impressive formation flight with a B-52H Stratofortress, seven F-35A Lightning IIs, and four of those new Zeroes we were talking about above.

The pic we have on the menu today was taken during the same exercise, as one of those F-35s was flying over Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan. Somewhat ironically, this angle makes the plane look like some sort of blunt iron dagger as it moves through the air.

This particular airplane is deployed with the 356th Fighter Squadron, a unit of the 354th Air Expeditionary Wing. Based over in Alaska, the squadron has had a very bumpy ride, having been created in 1942 and disbanded in 1946, then reinstated in 1956 and shut down in 1992, and most recently revived in 2019 to operate F-35s.

The unit was sent to Japan as a means to show “the 354th AEW’s ability to rapidly mobilize and deploy fifth-generation airpower across the Indo-Pacific theater,” which loosely translated can be seen as a move to keep China on its toes.

Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-35s.

 
 
 
 
 

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