One of the most constant presence at these air shows is the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team, a unit of the 388th Fighter Wing tasked with showing civilians and others the capabilities of one of the nation's most potent weapons platforms.
We’ve seen the planes of the team, especially the one of its commander, Maj. Kristin Wolfe, in various stances at various air shows over the past few months, and now we get another glimpse at it as it soars to the sky.
The photo, released by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) last week, shows the aircraft as it flies over Commencement Bay during the 4th of July weekend’s the 2021 Tacoma Freedom Fair in Tacoma, Washington.
The plane is seen almost vertical, as it climbs using the power provided by the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine that can take it to speeds of Mach 1.6, thanks to the 43,000 lbf (190 kN) of thrust it develops with the afterburner.
The aircraft, which is so young it is largely unproven in combat, is presently deployed in slightly different variants with the USAF, Navy, and Marine Corps. The Lockheed Martin machine also serves the needs of some allied nations, including the UK, Australia, and Israel. For the record, Israel was the first to fly the aircraft into combat, back in 2018.