The US Air Force’s 61st Fighter Training Squadron (FTS) and 2nd Fighter Squadron (FS) have conducted the basic F-35A trainee pilot training.

The complex combat training took place from September 12 to 23.

Intended to prepare for future operations, the event saw F-35A Lightning II student pilots train in a complex simulated scenario away from their home station.

As part of this training, both squadrons traveled to Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) in Idaho to practice with the student pilots.

The 2nd FTS is assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing (FW) and operates out of Eglin AFB, Florida, while the 61st FS operates out of Luke AFB, Arizona.

The training involved student pilots flying blue aircraft, while instructors and course trainers used red assets to signify threats.

During this exercise, the 2nd FTS focused primarily on adversary aerial tracking using the T-38A trainer aircraft.

The inclusion of the T-38A Talon provided a diverse air environment for F-35A students and instructors.

At the end of the exercise, the 61st FS completed training for six B-course students, along with the completion of instructor upgrade work for four pilots.

Additionally, the deployment also honed the existing skill sets of the 2nd FTS as fighter pilots.

2nd FTS Commander Lt. Col. Brent Blandino said, “The 2nd FTS is made up of several pilots who went straight through pilot training.

“These pilots are assigned to fly as adversary pilots for a two-year assignment before moving on to their own B-course where they will experience the exact scenarios they maintain, except from other perspectives.

“This training is focused on the B-course students, but the exposure to our young pilots is invaluable.”

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