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Lightning Likes to Strike in Packs, Such Events to Become More Common

The F-35 Lightning II has been flying in the skies of our world ever since 2006, but it started becoming a common weapons platform for national air forces just seven years ago. The last two, it seems, have seen an accelerated growth in the number of such fifth-generation fighter aircraft in service, and that couldn’t have happened at a more suitable time.
Formation of four F-35 Lightning IIs over the Pacific 14 photos
Formation of four F-35 Lightning IIs over the PacificF-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 in February, we got a sense of just how big the fleet of F-35s used by us Americans is getting, after one of the component suppliers for the plane, BAE Systems, announced the production of the 3,000th vehicle management computer (VMC) and 1,000th active inceptor system (AIS).

In the near future, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) plans to deploy a staggering 1,700 F-35A variants, more than the total units of the most successful military airplane still flying, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, currently in service. Add to that the Marine Corps’ and the Navy’s variants, as well as the ones meant for export, and we can safely say we’re witnessing aviation history in the making.

Bent on making the F-35 a reassuring sight in the minds of the citizens it protects, the USAF not only set up a dedicated demo team, but is also releasing a constant flood of images showing the beast in action.

One of the most recent is the one we have here, showing something we’re likely to see increasingly over the coming years: not one, not two, but a whole pack of four such aircraft, flying together.

The photo was snapped at the beginning of March over the Pacific ocean, where the planes were on a “routine mission,” meant to “demonstrate commitment to allies and partners through the employment of military forces, demonstrating strategic predictability, while becoming more operationally unpredictable to adversaries.”

These particular planes, aligned in perfect fashion to be worthy of a feature in our Photo of the Day section, are deployed with the 355th Fighter Squadron, out of Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.

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

 
 
 
 
 

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