Massive Pack of F-35 Lightnings Ready to Take Off Is the Definition of Air Force Cool

If there ever will be a massive war with a technologically-equal foe America will be drawn in, expect massive firepower to be unleashed onto whatever enemy dares challenge the nation. And that’s not just propaganda talk, as made plainly obvious by the image we have here.
42 F-35A Lightning IIs on massive elephant walk 17 photos
Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel Tam
42 F-35A Lightning IIs on massive elephant walkF-35 Lightning II on hot pit refueling in JapanF-35A Lightning IIs over the UKF-35A Lightning IIs on an elephant walkF-35A Lightning II with the 495th Fighter SquadronF-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 sunset
What we’re looking at is an impossible-to-count-without-hurting-your-eyes number of F-35A Lightning IIs, neatly lined up on the runway of the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska at the beginning of March, ready to take part in a routine readiness exercise and achieving perhaps the most impressive elephant walk we’ve seen in a long time.

For those curious enough, the U.S. Air Force does spill the bean on how many of these fifth-generation fighter aircraft have allowed an Airman 1st class to snap them on camera at the same time: 42, all of them deployed with the 354th Fighter Wing (354th FW).

This particular unit was in the spotlight earlier this month, when it announced it had received its final aircraft of this kind, finalizing its status of “formidable fifth-generation fighter wing.” The arrival of the last plane means that now the Wing has 54 permanently assigned birds of this kind.

“Finally receiving our 54th F-35 and completing our combat fleet culminates the end of a two-year beddown process that our team executed without delay, in spite of the pandemic and our extreme Arctic environment,” said in a statement in mid-April, when the plane was delivered, Col. David Berkland, 354th FW commander.

“Today also marks Eielson as a premier, advanced airpower projection location.”

The 354th has been active, on and off, since 1956, as part of the Pacific Air Forces. It was activated at Eielson in 1993. The F-35s started flying in 2020, as up until then the unit’s pilots were in charge of flying F-16 Fighting Falcons.
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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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