Fat F-35 Lightning II Flexes Muscles During Decades-Old Exercise

From a conflict standpoint, 2021 was somewhat of a quiet year. Despite several nations going for military build-ups in key regions around the globe, no new war started anywhere on the planet, and, for what it’s worth, America finally withdrew from the longest war it ever fought.
F-35 Lightning II over Nevada during Red Flag exercise 12 photos
Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Zachary Rufus
F-35 Lightning II over Nevada during Red Flag exerciseF-35 Lightning on the tarmac in TexasF-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 sunset
But even in times of relative peace, armed forces are as active as ever. When not fighting in a war, military units constantly learn how to do that more effectively, during countless exercises conducted around the world.

For most of us, not directly involved in such activities, military exercises are a great opportunity to look at the hardware the various branches can deploy in case of conflict. And few branches seem to take as much pride in their machines as the U.S. Air Force (USAF), who kept flooding us with images of aircraft in action for the duration of 2021.

As we stepped into the new year, the USAF compiled some of those pics into a sort of best of album, and the one we have here is part of that selection.

Taken by an Airman 1st Class back in March 2021, it shows one of America’s most potent and modern weapons, the mighty fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II, as it flies over the Nevada Test and Training Range. The plane is deployed with the 62nd Fighter Squadron based at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, a unit specifically tasked with conducting fighter training using the F-35.

The plane, pictured from an uncomfortably close distance by means of a Nikon camera that makes the jet look fat, is seen here taking part in one of the many Red Flag exercises held throughout 2021. Dating all the way back to 1975, when it started out as a means to train pilots for aerial combat, Red Flag is now much more complex, and it includes “war-fighting across air, space and cyberspace domains,” as per the USAF.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-35s.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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