For the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team, the event was the first public outing in a long time. Part of the 388th Fighter Wing, the team comprises nine pilots flying the most modern aircraft fielded by the USAF.
The main pic of this piece (click the photo to enlarge) was taken in Atlanta in May and published last week by the Air Force. It shows the F-35, flown by team commander Maj. Kristin Wolfe, as it performs a dedication pass maneuver for the crowds gathered in Georgia.
The F-35A is the airplane’s variant for the USAF. It first flew in 2006, but was introduced in service only ten years later.
This particular version takes off in a conventional manner (the F-35 family has members that can take off and land vertically), and it is the lightest one available.
The aircraft can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 and has a range of 1,700 miles (2,800 km). It is armed with a 4-barrel rotary cannon and comes with a large number of hardpoints on which a wide range of missiles or bombs can be mounted.
So far, the F-35 as a family was not used all that much in combat. The first to use one was the Israeli Air Force, in 2018. That same year the first crash took place, with an F-35B variant of the Marine Corps going down in South Carolina.